Indie Author Feature: Cathy Vickers

Now for something entirely different…

So far, the Write-It-Forward Indie Author Initiative has primarily featured an in-depth look into only the fantastic books written by various Indie Authors. I don’t want to be all smug about it, but I think there have been some pretty amazing novels featured in the Q & A section. Various genres, age ranges, and writing styles have been featured as well.  If you’re looking for your next read, then be sure to check out the links in the sidebar to find books in your preferred genre. Okay, clearly I have digressed from my original purpose…

What I was trying to do, was point out that even with the library of featured books that I have built for the Indie Author Initiative, something seems to be missing.

If you’ve read my author bio, you can’t help but notice the less-than-serious portrayal of myself as a professional (of any sort). However, I am not the norm…or normal, for that matter. But, even in my most inane ramblings, I am giving you a glimpse of who I am…I just want you to work for it. 😉 I’m sure you are wondering where I am going with this, right? Well, in this never-ending struggle to promote myself as an Indie Author, I have had the privilege of meeting some really amazing people, who also happen to be writers. What I have found, as we all muddle through the daily minutia of self-promotion, is that their personal stories are as important as the ones they have created for you, their readers.   

Thus, as a special interest feature, I will be sprinkling in a few author profiles so that you can get a glimpse of the person behind the book.  

Enjoy!

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Introducing:  Catherine L. Vickers, Author of a fantasy series about the World of Aarabassa

Her Completed Works:

  • Book 1 Guardian Dragons
  • Book 2 Flight of a Changeling

Cathy, would you  please briefly describe your journey in writing your book?

On a cold, wet day in the middle of Northern France, I was stuck in a tent on holiday with my family. We are a family of readers so we were all lying on our camping beds reading our books quietly. I cannot remember what I was reading as I had strangely started to write some mini scenery plots down as a break from reading. The memory is vague, but I know I wrote everything by hand (as no electricity and certainly no wifi in camping). I wrote lots of descriptive paragraphs on an A4 pad. I then cut out each paragraph and began to move the order of them around. This hand written method lasted for approximately a year and once I had a real plot with real people in a good order (paragraphs literally cut and pasted to larger pieces of paper), I then typed it all up on a desk top computer (lap tops were expensive then).

Today everything is typed on a lap top and the cutting and pasting is much easier. I have developed a style whereby I simply write and write and write, without editing or proofing. Then when I am approximately three quarters of the way through my plot, I will go back and begin the editing. The process of editing will happen many times by reading the whole thing through and making constant changes, at least 20-30 times.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

 Always treat others as you would expect them to treat yourself. I hope that my readers will get the same as I do when I read a book. Excellent likable or hatable characters. A plot that keeps you turning the pages with its twists and expectations. Descriptive surroundings so the reader feels as though they are in the stage setting. A story that they do not want to finish but yet they want to know how it ends.

 What is your writing schedule like?

I’m actually a bit of a scatterbrain. I love to make lists but then I tend to change the schedule on the lists. I read and write every day. I also have a self employed day job so that has to fit in aswell. I will make a list of the days tasks and stick to it as closely as I can.  If I cannot, then what I didn’t get done goes as more urgent the next day. I don’t necessarily write for my book every day, it could be a promotional day whereby I’m doing written interviews or perhaps finding new free places to market my books. Everyday will involve some task to do with my work as an author, even on holiday.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

There are two hard tasks to being a writer. One is the old adage of ‘writers block’. I overcome this one fairly easily by putting a scenario to one of my older children and they often come up with good ideas because they are also avid readers. Sometimes their ideas are enough to move me forward. The second stumbler is being an indie author. Promotion and marketing takes up a lot of my time but at least I cannot blame anyone else if things do not go to plan.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I have a blog where I’m attempting to share my books and other relevant information. It’s early days yet but I’m getting ideas all the time on how to improve it. If any readers pop in and have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know.

Please click on the following link to visit Cathy’s blog:  http://onewomansquestuk.blogspot.co.uk/

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I didn’t take reading seriously until in my thirties when I had to read Charles Dickens and instantly became a fan. I then looked at other English classics and read the Bronte sisters.  My very first fantasy author was the famous Lord of the Rings (before the days of the films). I was then lured to Anne Rice via the character Lastat. I also read her witch tales and loved them all. This gave me a taste of horror and I became enmeshed in Brian Lumley. By now I was loving anything fantasy and my list of favourite authors was continually growing. Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, I think I could easily fill the page with authors I adore, and it still grows.

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it is available.

Shortly Book 1, Guardian Dragons will be coming to its 90 day end with KDP on Amazon and I will be able to publish the e-copy elsewhere. Once this is accomplished I will release Book 2, Flight of a Chageling via KDP Amazon as a kindle verson.

Book 2, Flight of a Changeling immediately follows on from Book 1.

Based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark and the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands. Prince Raphael is taken on a pilgrimage to heal his illness, by Rikka the herbal nurse, but all is not as it seems.

Prince Amos and Prince Leon depart on separate quests to invite the various races, including dwarves, centaurs and merpeople, to the Lightlands Council to ready for battle with the creatures of the Darklands

Heather, the Changeling is journeying to the Guardian Dragons lair, meeting with the Forest Keepers on her way. Her final destination, to meet with the monshaad Emperor on the other side.

It is, however, available to read now on Amazon worldwide but only in paperback.

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Special thanks to Cathy Vickers for taking the time to share some of her thoughts and experiences as an Indie Author! Be sure to check out the Q&A that I will be posting in the next few days, featuring her second book, Flight of a Changeling. 

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  Find out more about Cathy by clicking the following links:

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Q & A for Saving Rain, The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy

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1.  What is the title of your book?

Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

Saving Rain is a new adult romance with a dark side.  I would recommend this novel for readers 18 and over.

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Saving Rain is the beginning of a poignant story of abuse, human trafficking, and beautiful, redeeming love.  Raina is the abused heroine who tries very hard to forget her dark past.  Kas is the protective, sometimes over-whelming FBI agent who is hell-bent on saving Raina from the men intent on harming her; a task made quite difficult when she refuses to divulge any information.   Raina joins Kas’ team to help infiltrate a formidable and rapidly growing human trafficking ring. 

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

Saving Rain is the first novel in The Rain Trilogy.  The second novel, Healing Rain, is written, but not published yet.  I am currently working on the final novel, After the Rain.  Saving Rain is available now and Healing Rain will be available later this year. 

When I began Saving Rain, I intended on a standalone novel, but I fell in love with the characters.  The plot needed more depth than what I felt a standalone could provide.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

The main character is a five foot six, auburn haired, jade eyed nineteen year old (at the beginning of the novel) who is as attractive on the inside as she is outwardly.  She is not aware of her beauty.  The cover of Saving Rain is a model, not someone I know personally, but when I saw her photo, it is very close to the way I envisioned Raina.

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Feeling shame for what other people did to her is Raina’s biggest insecurity. 

EXCERPT:

Raina sits in the cool night air, letting the breeze blow around her, wishing it could blow away her humiliation and shame of Kas seeing the pictures of what her father did to her, his seeing a glimpse into her life before she met him.  She desperately wanted to leave that part of her life behind, keep her past from tainting what she had hoped she and Kas would become.

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?

Forgiveness and strength to overcome are Raina’s best qualities.

EXCERPT:

Kas stares at her, bewildered by her innocence, her compassion, her willingness to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, wanting to believe the best in everyone.  He pulls her into his arms and kisses the top of her head.  “You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met Raina Kapture,” he tells her in awe, pushing away his sense of dejection and frustration from the knowledge that ‘Kapture’ isnt’ her real name.  She’s been through enough today and he will not question her about her past again, not today anyway.

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension? 

There is certainly a romantic interest between Raina and Kas that builds throughout the story, and it’s loaded with sexual tension.  

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Raina and Kas are immediately attracted to each other, but neither one admits to the attraction at first.  At the beginning of Saving Rain, Raina had just broken up with her ex-boyfriend after trying to have feelings for him, even though Kas captured her every thought.  Raina is confused and frightened by her attraction for Kas, especially after her past.

10.   Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

 To me, Kas is almost as much of a main character as Raina is.  I love Kas’ dedication to Raina, his struggle to release his death grip of total control in order to find out more about her at her set pace.  He is a very determined man.  He uses his strength to shelter Raina instead of causing her pain.

11.   Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

All of the characters are fictional, but I do have to admit that some of the traits were inspired by people I love. 

12.   Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

I chose an excerpt where Raina experiences being undercover.

EXCERPT:

As she walks back to the table, she fakes twisting her heel, feasibly easy to pull off in the unbelievable height of the stilettos.  She spills one of the drinks straight into Victor’s lap.  She quickly grabs the linen napkin and begins dabbing his leg as she discreetly removes the bug from the hem of her dress, attaching it to the under-hem of his blazer while he’s distracted with what her other hand is doing.

Victor lets out what she is sure isn’t a nice word in his native language as he jumps to his feet.  He raises his hand to strike her, but Kas quickly grabs his hand before he can deliver the blow, causing the bodyguards to advance towards them.  Kas realizes that he better make this look convincing or things are going to go south very quickly due to his reaction to Victor’s imminent threat to Raina.

He releases Victor and grabs Raina possessively, “I told you that she’s mine, no one touches her except me.”  He grabs her as roughly as possible without actually hurting her as he growls dangerously, “I will deal with you later.”  He spins her back around so she’s facing Victor and he barks, “Apologize!”

Raina breathlessly whispers her apology, not having to work too hard to feign the fear evident in her eyes, her past giving her a very clear picture of what Kas’ words would mean for her if he wasn’t just playing a role.  Victor eyes them suspiciously, and Kas knows that he has to sell this.  “I apologize for my rashness, but I warned you about not sharing well with others.  I am the only one to touch her, to discipline her.”  He fights to hold in his true emotions and act like the cruel sleaze he’s trying to personify.  He hates himself for the next words he delivers as he grabs Raina, holding her prisoner in his grip. “The sting of my belt will teach you to be more careful.”

The malice in his words has the effect needed, and she blanches, the look in her eyes dissipating any suspicions Victor may have had.  Ambivalence rips through Kas.  He is relieved that she is safe at the moment, knowing what kind of harm can be delivered in the private setting during the minute it would take the undercover agents from Michael’s team to reach them from the bar, but putrid self-disgust fills him from the way he had to elicit painful memories from her to sell the façade.

The need for Kas to get her out of there is overwhelming.  She cringes as he grabs her again and pushes her.  “Wait on me outside,” he yells as she stumbles towards the door.

Victor calmly watches her leave, the blatant disrespect and cruelty bestowed on a lady doesn’t faze him in the least.  Kas would like nothing better at the moment than to rip Victor apart at his aloofness of his treatment of Raina.  He knows it’s a part of Victor’s normal routine to hurt those weaker than himself.

He reins in his temper and smiles at Victor, pulling out a wad of hundred dollar bills, “Allow me to take care of your suit.”

Victor laughs and waves the money away, “It is only a spilled drink, after all.”

“One that I hope didn’t put a damper on a lucrative business deal for the both of us.  I assure you, I will handle her.”

Victor nods towards the door, “Aren’t you worried that she will try to run away?”

Kas bites the inside of his cheek, furthering his self-hatred as he gives the sickening lie, “I found her half-starved, eating from a dumpster when she was fourteen.  I’ve invested a lot of time in training her.  She has only tried to run once, I made sure that night that she will never try to run again.”

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Thanks to author, Karen-Anne Stewart for giving us a special peek into the first novel in The Rain Trilogy, Saving Rain.  Be sure to keep us updated on your progress with future books in this series!

Karen-Anne Stewart

 Click one of the following links to become a fan of Karen-Anne Stewart or follow her current and future projects:

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 To purchase Saving Rain, The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, click one of the following links:

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Q & A for Shades of Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series, Book One

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1.  What is the title of your book?

Shades of  Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series Book One

2.  What is the genre and age rating?

Young adult paranormal romance

3.  Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.

Ruby Matthews is a 17 year old girl who is haunted, both literally and figuratively, by the past as she tries to move forward after a tragic loss.  She meets the boy of her dreams at what feels like the worst possible time.

4.  Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?

The first three books in the series are currently available and I am working on the final installment.  I wanted to do one book for each season of the year.  Each season corresponds directly with the direction Ruby’s life is taking her.

5.  Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Ruby is slightly mysterious.  She has black hair with one red streak.  Her hair is naturally curly but she straightens it every day to try to look more ‘normal’.  She is average height, thin build with pretty hazel eyes.  She sees herself as plain but that isn’t how the world sees her.

6.  What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example? 

Ruby has a problem with lying.  Her lies aren’t malicious but they always tend to bite her in the behind.  She lies because she’s afraid of what other people will think about her and her slightly odd ways.

EXCERPT:

I opened my mouth to tell my dad what I just experienced.  “Dad the light just….” When my brain caught up with my mouth, I shut it pretty fast.  If I told him what I thought just happened, he would think I was crazy, right?  He threatened to send me to a psychiatrist about a thousand different times over the past year, but I was always able to pull my act together long enough for him to change his mind.  This time, I wouldn’t just sound depressed, I would sound insane.  There would be no talking my way out of this one.  So I lied.

7.  What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example? 

Ruby’s best quality is her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of someone she loves.

EXCERPT:

I knew he was trying to be nice, but he wanted to go check on Rachel and I couldn’t ask him to wait for me.  “Zach, go find Rachel—I’ll stay here until you get back.”

He opened his mouth as though to speak, but no words came out.

“I’ll be fine—you said it yourself, the storm’s over.  I’ll find Coco and then wait for you upstairs.  Go find your sister.  I know you’ll be sick with worry until you know she’s safe.”

I knew it was a tough choice for him.  But who needed him most—Rachel or me?  I watched as he mulled it over in his head.

“Are you sure?  I hate to leave you here alone even on a good day.  If something happens, you won’t even be able to call me.”

“Nothing will happen.  Just go!”  There wasn’t a single worry in my mind that I would be anything but perfectly safe.

“Alright.  Just find her and get out of this basement.  I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  He hugged me close and gave me an extra squeeze.  “Be careful.”

“You, too.”  I watched as he closed the door behind him.  It was only after he was on the other side of it that I started to change my mind.

8.  Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?

Ruby’s romantic interest is Zach Mason. Something happens the first time they meet that simply takes both of their breaths away.  Their relationship is intense in so many different ways.  Paranormal activity forces Ruby to keep him at arm’s length.  She is afraid that Zach will leave her when he finds out the truth about her, so she tries to spare herself that pain by keeping him at a distance.

9.  Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.

Zach Mason is the exact opposite of Ruby on the outside.  He has blond hair, blue eyes, and an athletic build.  He has a smile that would melt anyone’s heart.  Ruby swears that there isn’t a female of any species that wouldn’t find him irresistible.  She’s right.

10.  Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?

Rachel Mason.  Rachel is Zach’s twin sister and Ruby’s new best friend.  I like Rachel because she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She tends to say funny things when you least expect it.

11.  Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?

Every character has at least a small piece of someone I have known.

12.  Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…

EXCERPT:

I jerked away from the table, nearly burning myself on a candle in the process.  We took one look at each other.  One thing was clear.  We needed to get out of there.

One by one, the candles extinguished themselves around the circle, wispy trails of smoke drifting up in their wake.  Another flash of lightning lit the room and I saw that we were not alone in the attic.  A dark shadow hovered closely behind Rachel.

“It’s behind you!”  I reached out frantically to pull her away but it was too late.  The entity rocketed forward and dove straight into her. 

Rachel’s eyes flew wide and her face contorted into a vision of agony.  I watched helplessly as she doubled over and the shadow figure forced itself out through her stomach and disappeared.  She crumpled to the floor lifelessly.

“No!  Rachel!”  I rushed to her side, afraid of what I was going to find.  I grabbed for her wrist and felt a weak pulse.  I breathed a sigh of relief—I couldn’t be responsible for another death!

“Rachel!  You have to wake up!  We have to get out of here!”  I took her by the shoulders and shook her hard but she bobbled limply like a rag doll.

I sunk to the floor beside her and cried.  A thundering crash resonated behind me.  And then another.  And another.  I opened my eyes to see my books flying off of the shelf one at a time and hurtling across the room.  I had to get us both out of there.

I was too weak to carry her so I gripped her by the ankles and dragged her toward the door, book bombs exploding around us as I went.  Suddenly, a weak groan rose from her throat.

“Rachel, we have to get out of here!  You need to get up—now!”  I slapped her sharply across the face.  It always seemed to work in the movies—it was worth a try.

“Ruby?!  Why are you slapping me?”  Rachel opened her eyes slowly.  “Where are we?”

I could tell when the initial confusion wore off because a look of mortal terror replaced it. 

Just then, the door flung open and a looming figure appeared in the doorway.  A piercing scream escaped my throat as it seized me around the waist and pulled me toward it.

Thanks to author, Joy Elbel for giving us a sneak peek into the first book in The Haunting Ruby Series! Keep your eyes peeled for more from The Haunting Ruby Series, as I’ll be featuring books two and three during the next couple of months, leading up to the release of the final book at the end of the summer!

Joy Elbel

For more information on author Joy Elbel, or her current and future projects, click one of the following links:

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Click the image to purchase Shades of Summer, The Haunting Ruby Series, Book One:

Coming Soon: The Mortgatha Trilogy…

Cover Reveal !!

I’m very excited to recommend a brand new YA Fantasy from a great friend and amazing author, Donna Hawk.

The first book in her new YA trilogy, Where Darkness Walks, is expected to be available for purchase at the end of this month (May 2013). It is the first book in the The Mortgatha Trilogy, and trust me…you will definitely want to check it out!

Where Darkness Walks

Where Darkness Walks

Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Claire couldn’t believe it when her boyfriend broke up with her, not only breaking her heart, but doing it at the prom. However, when she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart, she starts to realize that things could definitely be worse.

…and she’s about to figure out exactly how much worse things can get.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world. Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

donnaMeet the Author:

My name is Donna Hawk. I’ve been a middle school teacher for 33 years. I taught Reading, mostly, but also I’ve taught a variety of things: yearbook, photography, creative writing, social studies… the list seems endless. I truly enjoy that age kids. I retired two years ago because I wanted to devote time to writing. I live in a small town, on a farm with my husband, a dog, and a whole bunch of cows. I know everyone in town, so writing is a good way to escape! I am also an avid photographer.

For more on Donna Hawk and her new trilogy:

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Cover Reveal for Give Me Pleasure, by Celeste Carrara

I am so pleased to be a part of the cover reveal for author Celeste Carrara’s newest book, the fourth book in her Paranormal City Series!

GiveMePleasureBookCoverJPG

~Give Me Pleasure ~

Kayla has needs and desires and thus far hasn’t found a man who can accept her kinks. Then again, she has a hard time accepting them too. She’s suppose to be a good girl. Good girls don’t do the things Kayla fantasizes about.

Mika doesn’t have time for women. His life revolves around his job. As the head of security to vampire king Sebastian, Mika’s only focus is protecting and serving his king. Women, especially the human variety, are used for only two things. Blood and sex.

When Mika and Kayla meet, neither are prepared for the feelings they stir in one another. They shouldn’t be together, too many obstacles, yet they can’t stay away…

Get an in depth look at Give Me Forever, the first book in the Paranormal City Series, from the awesome Q&A completed by author, Celeste Carrara as a part of my Write it Forward Indie Author Initiative!

For more information on author Celeste Carrera, or her Paranormal City Series, click the following links:

~*~ Website ~*~ Twitter ~*~ Facebook ~*~ Goodreads ~*~