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Interview with C.H. MacLean, author of ‘Two Empty Thrones

C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

  1. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, C.H.. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Two Empty Thrones is my second published book and is the second book in the Five in Circle series. Fire Above, my third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in the winter of 2014/15. The third book in the Five in Two Empty Thrones 2Circle series will be released shortly after that.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

After a few nibbles but no bites from mainstream press, my research on the publishing world led me to a bevy of information about self-publishing. The information challenged my previous biases against it. I decided to self-publish for several reasons, the two main being the amount of control I have over my work and the ability to keep my book in print for as long as I want.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Once I decided to self-publish, all the extra work such as formatting, cover art, and so on, took about six months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I saw it lying on the counter and my first reaction was, wow, that looks like an interesting book. Then came the shock of, Hey, that’s my book! I’m sure the grin on my face was ridiculous. Of course I celebrated by giving my love a big hug and kiss!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I started with requests for book reviews, including Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways. I really wanted to have readers’ honest opinions of the book as my promotional foundation.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Having a real book out there, seeing my name on books only inspires me to write more. The stories just tumble out now, and I can see I’m getting good material down more quickly.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I was humbled when I realized how much work goes into publishing a book. I guess my idea of self-publishing deserved to be crushed. I hoped it just meant all you have to do is write, upload a file and poof, you’re published. But there are so many things that have to get done: formatting, proofing, cover design, book blurbs, sales descriptions, etc.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I love knowing that someone out there is enjoying reading the story. I cherish reading and know how much I enjoy a good book. Hearing that someone else is having that same feeling from my book is the best.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Keep writing. Pour your heart and soul out for the readers. When you get tired or stuck, remember them and just keep writing.

 

 

First Chapter Reveal: Lieutenant Henry Gallant by H. Peter Alesso

Lieutenant Henry Gallant 2Title: Lieutenant Henry Gallant
Author: H. Peter Alesso
Publisher: Video Software Publishing
Pages: 320
Genre: Science fiction space opera
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.

Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.

With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.

In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.

First Chapter:

Gallant ran—gasping for breath, heart pounding; the echo of his footsteps reverberated behind him.

He hoped to reach the bridge, but hope is a fragile thing.

Peering over his shoulder into the dark, he tripped on a protruding jagged beam, one of the ship’s many battle scars. As he crashed to the deck, the final glow of emergency lights sputtered out leaving only the pitch black of power failure—his failure.

He lay still and listened to the ship’s cries of pain; the incessant wheezing of atmosphere bleeding from the many tiny hull fissures, the repetitious groaning of metal from straining structures, and the crackling of electrical wires sparking against panels.

Thoughts flashed past him.

How long will the oxygen last?

He was reluctant to guess.

Where are they?

He heard the clamor of dogged footsteps drawing closer even as he rasped for another breath.

Trembling from exhaustion, he clawed at the bulkhead to pull himself up. His hemorrhaging leg made even standing brutally painful.

Nevertheless; he ran.

He heard the clamor of dogged footsteps drawing closer even as he rasped for another breath.

Trembling from exhaustion, he clawed at the bulkhead to pull himself up. His hemorrhaging leg made even standing brutally painful.

Nevertheless; he ran.

The bulkhead panels and compartment hatches were indistinguishable in the dimness. Vague phantoms seemed to lurk nearby even while his eyes adjusted to whatever glowing plasma blast embers flickered from the hull.

As he twisted around a corner, he crashed his shoulder into a bulkhead. The impact knocked him back and spun him around. Reaching out with a bloody hand, he grasped the hatch handle leading into the Operation’s compartment. Going through the hatch, he pulled it shut behind him.

He started to run, then awkwardly fought his own momentum and stopped.

Stupid! Stupid!

Going back to the hatch, he hit the security locking mechanism.

It wouldn’t stop a plasma blast, but it might slow them down, he thought. At least this compartment is airtight.

Finally able to take a deep breath, he tried to clear his head of bombarding sensations. He should’ve been in battle armor, but he’d stayed too long in engineering trying to maintain power while the hull had been breached and the ship boarded.

Now his uniform was scorched, revealing the plasma burns of seared flesh from his left shoulder down across his back to his right thigh. He had no idea where the rest of the crew was; many were probably dead. His comm pin was mute and the ship’s AI wasn’t responding. He had only a handgun, but, so far, he didn’t think they were tracking him specifically, merely penetrating into the ship to gain control.

Gallant tried to run once more, but his legs were unwilling. Leaning against the bulkhead, like a dead weight, he slid slowly down to the deck.

Unable to go farther, he sat dripping blood and trembling as the potent grip of shock grabbed hold. The harrowing pain of his burnt flesh, swept over him.

Hope and fear alike abandoned him, leaving only an undeniable truth; without immediate medical treatment, he wouldn’t survive.

I’m done.

Closing his eyes, he fought against the pain and the black vertigo of despair. He took a deep breath and called upon the last of his inner resolve and resilience . . .

No! I won’t give up.

Exhaling and opening his eyes, he caught sight of a nearly invisible luminescent glow of a Red Cross symbol, offering him a glimmer of hope. He stretched his arm toward the cabinet.

“Argh.”

He heard a cry of agony and only belatedly realized it had escaped his own lips as he strained to pull away twisted metal from the door to a medical cabinet. Reaching inside, he grabbed a damaged medi-pack.

Painstakingly he used the meager emergency provisions to stop the bleeding and to infuse blood plasma. His limited mobility prevented him from reaching awkward areas, but he managed to insert an analgesic hypodermic into his raw blistered flesh. Finally, he crudely bandaged his suffering body.

He relaxed momentarily as the medication coursed through his veins working to stifle the worst effects of shock and blood loss. His parched throat demanded . . .

Water.

He looked at more cabinets, but was unable to make out their markings in the dark. Stretching his fingers, he opened the nearest one, groping for something familiar inside.

No.

He opened the next.

No.

And another.

Yes. Finally, he snatched a half-buried survival kit. Greedily he drank and even managed to take a few bites of an energy bar.

A surge of adrenaline helped him shift his position to sit more comfortably as his mind came into sharper focus.

As he examined his surroundings in the faint light, he spotted an interface station. He was about to reach up and patch into the ship’s AI to get an update on the ship’s defensive posture when he was disturbed by the dismal clangor of footsteps.

He held his breath. Are they coming this way?

Interview with Peter Darrach: ‘As a writer you can literally do anything you can imagine in your books’

Peter DarrachPeter Darrach has lived in New York, London, Prague, Munich and Vienna. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Arts degree in German Literature, both from Pennsylvania State University. Darrach pursued a career in sales and marketing in fields as diverse as amusement parks and retail before moving to Europe in 1991. Since then he has worked in Eastern and Western Europe, holding a series of executive positions with blue chip FMCG companies. Most recently he has returned to the U.S. to pursue his career as a business coach and fiction author and currently lives in Florida.

His latest book is the sci-fi, Tavern on the Edge of Time.

For More Information

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Peter. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

The current book (TAVERN ON THE EDGE OF TIME) is the third in a series of self-published science fiction books (THE SECOND SKIN SERIES). See more details at http://www.peterdarrach.com.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

These stories have been bubbling in me for some time and I simply needed to release them. Both the formal and informal reviews have been quite positive. It’s very inspiring to have strangers tell you your that reading your books is like “dreaming with your Tavern on the Edge of Timeeyes open.” Who knows, a publisher may be intrigued by the positive attention.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Self-publishing goes very quickly. Weeks, really.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

The characters are my friends. The books are my children. But, once I’ve written and finalized a book, I am already off on the next one. Frankly, I don’t remember celebrating them formally at all.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Press releases, of course, seeking reviewers initially and through them more awareness.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

The first book was undoubtedly harder. Although the story flowed easily enough, the physical writing, editing, correcting, continuity checking, etc., seemed unendingly laborious. However, I learned a lot of short cuts during the process and books two and three were much easier on this technical level. THis allowed me to put much more energy into the characters and the story lines, with demonstrable results, I think.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

Sometimes I wonder if there aren’t more writers than readers.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The joy of creation. As a writer you can literally do anything you can imagine in your books. It is for me highly liberating.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write and believe in yourself.

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Character Guest Post: Tyler Thompson of Laurence St. John’s ‘Metatron: The Mystical Blade’

44Today we have a great guest! I’m happy to welcome Tyler Thompson of Laurence St. John’s new YA fantasy, Metatron: The Mystical Blade.

I wake up early in the morning tired sometimes wondering if being a superhero is all worth it. Then without notice my best friend Maxx, a black and white and gray Akita, comes running then leaps onto my bed. I get this huge grin on my face as he begins licking my face. While petting him I glance over at my dresser and see the picture of my dad. I still get teary eyed once in a while because I miss him so much. My adrenaline starts flowing throughout my body aMetatron 2s it all comes flooding back to me why I do what I do – to stop bad people from doing bad things.

When I first figured out I had cool powers like super strength and super speed I looked up to heaven and promised my dad I’d use my powers for good. To stop evil people like Dr. Mason Payne who killed my dad in cold blood.

Oh, I’m sorry. I should have introduced myself. I’m Tyler Thompson and I’m thirteen years old. I have and awesome girlfriend, Kendall. She is the most beautiful girl in the word. Please don’t tell my mom. I’m a third degree black belt student and instructor in the martial arts discipline, Tae Kwon Do. Oh yea, I also like Taco Bell. I like all types of music however rock and roll is my favorite.

It’s kind of funny; when I was younger I always liked watching Star Wars movies, reading Marvel comic books and pretending to be a superhero. Now I’m living every young boys dream – being a real superhero. Well, I’m not actually a total superhero yet, but I’m working on it.

I have to be truthful. I wasn’t always a good kid. I use to get in trouble just like any normal boy mainly because I was mad about my dad being killed – right in front of my eyes. I would lash out and do dumb things. However, since being bequeathed with awesome abilities my karate instructor Master Tanaka opened my eyes making me realize I had to rise above and do what’s right – do the best I can, be a good person and keep my promise to my dad. I will help innocent people.

Oh, I hate to cut this short but I have to go. I just got a text alert that… Sorry, I can’t tell you what’s going on but you can read about in a book that some guy named Laurence St. John wrote.

About the Author:

Lawrence St. JohnLaurence A. St. John was born on January 11, 1965 in Toledo Ohio. Laurence has one older brother and two younger sisters. Laurence along with his parents, brother and sisters moved once while growing up to Genoa Ohio, just south of Toledo. While attending Genoa Area schools, he was active in track, football and baseball. Later, after he graduated from Genoa High School (Comets) in 1983, he worked for a few manufacturing companies.

At the age of 23 and after three years of dedication, hard work and sweat, in 1988, Laurence received his first-degree black belt (Shodan) in Tae Kwon Do. This gave him the self-confidence and perseverance needed to surmount anything that came his way.

When Laurence was 25 years old he fell in love then married the love of his life, Julie in 1990. He then adopted her two young wonderful children Joe and Jan shortly after.

Out of high school for nearly fifteen years and after persuaded by his former manager, Laurence attended Owens State Community College where he obtained an Associates Degree in Microcomputer Business Systems while working full-time. In addition to computer classes, he enjoyed composition classes where he could free his mind and write what he wanted.

While working in the steel processing business for almost fifteen years, Laurence’s place of employment changed hands, for the third time in 2006; fighting for his job, again. In the same year his first granddaughter, Kendall, “Papa’s Angel” was born. He described this as one of the most uplifting moments of his life. In addition, it was during this time when his emotions were running wild; he became inspired as well as determined to write his penned-up thoughts on paper.

Nearly four years later, he had completed his first middle grade fantasy novel, Metatron: The Angel Has Risen. His latest book is Metatron: The Mystical Blade.

Laurence currently lives in Northwood Ohio with his wife of 24 years, Julie. His son Joe is married to Cari and they have three daughters, Kendall, Sadie and Harper. His daughter Jan is married to Andrew and they have a son Eli and a daughter Evelyn. Laurence currently holds the position of Administrations Manager at Precision Strip, Inc. in Perrysburg Ohio, where he works full time. He continually writes in his spare time; weekends and after work, and is endlessly inspired by his five grandkids Kendall, Elijah, Sadie, Evelyn and Harper.

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About the Book:

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Thompson is on the verge of becoming a superhero, but he must prove himself so he can earn the remainder of his superpowers and fulfill his destiny.

When his grandfather, Benjamin, is held prisoner at AREA 51, where the eternal powers are presumed to be hidden, Tyler attempts to penetrate the base’s heavy security. However, Dr. Mason Payne, the evil scientist who killed Tyler’s father, has insidious plans of his own.

Hunted by an unknown entity, Tyler races against the clock to retrieve the superpowers, rescue his family and help the others who are depending on him. And when all hope seems lost, help comes in a power he didn’t know he possessed—a mysterious weapon known as The Mystical Blade.

For More Information

  • Metatron: The Mystical Blade is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.

Interview with Tara Edin: ‘There comes a time when being authentic is more beneficial than being flawless’

Tara is an incest, rape and sexual assault survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a Reiki master, and an author.

As a rape and sexual assault survivor, who struggled for many years, yet came out on the bright side, one of Tara’s goals is to help fellow survivors feel less alone, less crazy, and more inspired.

Tara spent much of her life feeling “wrong” and being quiet due to some very tough circumstances that shook her to the core. After a spiritual awakening on one of her darkest nights, Tara began to embrace her own power to transform past trials into dreams come true.

Moonflower 2Writing her story has helped Tara retrieve her voice and find additional creative outlets. Publishing her book has simply made her story available to those who may benefit from it.

These days, Tara puts most of her energy into raising her two children, enhancing her creative life, and living her best life ever. But because she is a Survivor, Tara will always walk a healing path—healing for herself and for others.

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About the Book:

Blooming was her Birthright. Darkness the Unexpected Catalyst.

Tara is an incest, rape and sexual abuse survivor, who suffered from PTSD for many years but was misdiagnosed with mental illnesses instead. This took her down a near-fatal path ultimately ending in an accident, which nearly claimed her life at age 29. Most only know the abridged version of the story, yet the real story holds many truths and miracles that must be shared. With a second lease on life, Tara faces the sexual abuse and betrayal from her younger years with support from a compassionate zen therapist. Tara begins to recreate her life with a new spirituality that feeds her soul and encompasses her painful past, giving life to the love that has always been her birthright. With lucid prose and powerful poetry, Tara details her soul’s transformation from darkness to light, offering her readers the gifts of honesty, empathy, and empowerment.

Moonflower is Part Memoir, Part Self-Help & Part Spiritual Odyssey.

Rape, incest and sexual assault are unspoken controversial topics that still fester behind closed doors in the 21st century as survivors are still being told to “Get over it,” or worse, “It didn’t even happen.” It takes years to heal from such life-altering, traumatic experiences, and many survivors are doing this work alone. There is a great need for testimonies from those who have emerged from their ordeals stronger.

This revealing story uncovers the aftermath of abuse that often leads to unstable relationships, repeated abuse, and mental or physical disease. Although Moonflower covers difficult topics such as emotional and sexual abuse, the author sifts through these experiences to offer her readers the gifts and lessons that can be drawn from such setbacks.

There is no cookie-cutter journey to healing, but there is great power in sharing our stories. Moonflower exhibits the power of the self and spirit in the healing process. It stretches beyond what may be considered a “normal” path and braves a non-traditional spiritual road to wellness, inspiring others to broaden their perspectives of the healing experience. Readers will be inspired by Tara’s fiery spirit and deep reflective soul, cheering her on as she finds her way back to herself.

For More Information

  • Moonflower: A Memoir of Healing is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Tara. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Moonflower: a Memoir of Healing is my first published book.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I chose to self-publish because it was a more direct route, and I was interested in learning the process.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Once I decided to self-publish, it took me about six months to complete the process.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I felt like Odysseus returning home after 20 years since I had been working on my book for over 20 years. When my e-book was live on Amazon.com, I smiled at my Moonflower page for several moments. Then celebrated over lunch with my best friend at the Cheesecake Factory.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I began promoting my book on my website and blog. Soon after, I followed suit with Twitter and Facebook.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

In publishing my first book, I have learned to let go of some of my perfectionism in order to get the job done. There is always room for revision, but there comes a time when being authentic is more beneficial than being flawless. I am now exercising my writing muscles via my blog by providing valuable, inspirational content to my growing readership. Having traveled the self-publishing route once, I am looking forward to a smoother course for my second book.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I am amazed and inspired by the growing numbers of indie authors out there because of the great discipline and determination behind each and every self-published book.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

As a published author, it is extremely rewarding to know that I will make a positive difference in many lives for years to come.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Focus on the writing, and trust that the details will settle into place.

 

 

 

Interview with Melodie Campbell: ‘You need to love the actual act of writing’

Melodie CampbellBilled as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy” by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Winner of nine awards, including the 2014 Derringer (US) and the 2014 Arthur Ellis (Canada) for The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books), Melodie has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels.

Melodie got her start writing stand-up. In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. Her fiction has been described by industry reviewers as “hilarious” and “laugh-out-loud funny.”

Melodie has a commerce degree from Queen’s University, but it didn’t take well. She has been a bank manager, college instructor, marketing director, comedy writer and possibly the worst runway model ever. These days, Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Her latest book is the paranormal romance time travel, Rowena and the Viking Warlord.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Melodie.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I think this is publication number 200!  I have over 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels.  ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD is lucky number seven.

Rowena 2Guess I should preface that by saying I won my first writing award in 1989.  I’ve been making up stories since I was 4.  My parents called it lying.  That was so short-sighted of them.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

For my first novel, I went small press.  I’d been a professional writer for 15 years (comedy, standup and short stories) so I was used to working with publishing industry editors and enjoyed the relationship.

ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD is with Imajin Books, my first publisher.  They are terrific, and I’m delighted to still be with them.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

About 5 months, which is pretty quick in the book trade!

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was wonderful to have a novel published!  I think I stared at the paperback for an hour.

But how did I celebrate?  (Okay, get ready for it…)  I bought a 1994 white Corvette convertible!  (They don’t call my humor column ‘Bad Girl’ for nothing!)

I know.  Totally irresponsible.  And me, with two kids. This spring, with my two book advances, I traded it in for a 2006 sapphire blue Corvette convertible.  (The car, not the kids.)

I’ve been married for decades, so I can’t celebrate with fast men.  So I make it fast cars, instead.  Even my husband likes that <grin>.  No wonder he wants me to write more!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I went on a blog tour, just like this one.  I love reaching readers in this way.  It seems personal.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

How much I would enjoy interacting with readers.  I’ve made some wonderful friends over the past five years, and they have encouraged me to write more and more.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

When I first started in this business, it was all about sales.  Then I thought the winning of awards was the apex (I have nine.)

Then a fan wrote to say that ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (book 1 of this trilogy) was the best book she had ever read.  I actually cried.  I’ve won 9 awards.  None of them can match that moment. I write for her now, and readers like her.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

To be successful as an author, you need to love the actual act of writing.  That being, hands on keyboard, butt in chair, isolating yourself for hours on end as you create stories on paper.  If you love that, you will continue to write, and will get better and better at it. And you WILL get published!

Interview with Paul DeBlassie: ‘Religion can be both terrifying and damaging’

Paul DeBlassie IIIPAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.

His latest book is the psychological/paranormal thriller, The Unholy.

About the Book:

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Thank you for this interview, Paul. I get the impression that The Unholy is a book only you could write, because of the setting, and because of your own background. Let’s start with the setting. Tell me about Aztlan.

Aztlan is the mythopoeic realm of the mestizos (mixed bloods of southwestern United States). I am mestizo. Aztlan is New Mexico, especially  the region of Albuquerque (southern Aztlan) and Santa Fe (northern Aztlan) and extends to the four corners area. Spirits, dreams, visions, and natural magic are woven seamlessly into everyday life.

The Unholy 7Your protagonist, Claire Sanchez, is a curandera, a term which roughly translates as “Medicine Woman.” What exactly is a curandera? What led you to choose this occupation for your heroine? 

A curandera is a healer. She spoke to me as the story evolved, told me who she was and told me of her struggle to find herself. The path of a healer is fraught with danger. She dramatizes the life of so many women and men seeking to face their fears, find themselves, and walk the path of healing, natural magic, and life.

Faith and religion are central themes of The Unholy. You explore the abuse of religion and the conflict that can come from spirituality. What would you say is the central theme or message of Unholy? What impact are you hoping to have on your readers? 

The central message of The Unholy is Religion Kills. It is made explicit at the end of the tale. News media broadcast Religion Kills as they describe the battle between the evil Archbishop and the young curandera.

You live in New Mexico, in the general area where the novel is set. How has this affected the writing of The Unholy? How important was your knowledge of the places and people and culture? What kinds of personal knowledge did you draw on as you crafted your characters and setting?

New Mexico is Aztlan. My lineage reaches back for over three-hundred years in Aztlan, a long line of medicine people, healers.  I live here, breathe its air, am sheltered under the canopy of its turquoise sky. The Unholy and the natural magic of the medicine women, forces of darkness and light, exist side by side in the daily, mythopoeic realm of Aztlan. I live here. It is my homeland.

How has your training and experience as a psychologist impacted your writing in general? 

For over thirty years I have treated survivors of the dark side of religion. I chose to write a novel about this human drama. Stories cut to the chase. I’ve written three other books in psychology and spirituality, but there is nothing like stirring the imagination via story to set the mind working and the heart healing.

I know you’ve had some specific experiences in your role as a psychologist that led to your decision to write this book. Tell me about that. 

Religion can be both terrifying and damaging. I help people to heal from the dark side of religion. Decades of such experience led me to write this book and the ones that will follow. Each phantasmagoric story, much like The Unholy, plumbs the dark and light sides of human nature and spiritual experience.

The cover image for The Unholy is striking and haunting, and it’s not just some random stock photo. Tell me about that picture.  

It is the Devil’s Throne, an actual site between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The evil archbishop performs atrocities there. The land has been contaminated by evil, women desecrated, the air itself befouled. It is the Devil’s Throne in the realm of Azltan!

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