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Book Review: ‘Madison’s Song’ by Christine Amsden

MadisonsSong_medMadison’s Song is the latest addition to theCassie Scot Paranormal Detective fantasy/mystery series. Though not the latest instalment, it is a stand-alone, companion book to the series and, though there are mystery elements in it, it is primarily a romantic fantasy.

So far I’ve read and enjoyed all of the books and this one didn’t disappoint. As usual, Amsden delivers a fast-pace, highly entertaining read with fully sympathetic and compelling characters. This time I was especially swept away by the romance between Madison and Scott.

Madison Carter is a sweet, shy music teacher from a small town. When her brother Clinton’s life is put in danger, she must unwillingly join forces with Scott Lee, a very alluring and dangerous alpha werewolf, to find Clinton and help him. Scott is slave to the moon, a vicious killer and man-eating monster, but he has a soft spot for Madison, whom he was forced to “mark”, make love to, two years ago in order to save her life. Since then, they’ve been bonded in more ways than both are willing to admit. Needless to say, sparks fly from the very beginning. As they follow the trail to Clinton, they find themselves thrown in a secret lab, prisoners of a psychopathic doctor with a very dark agenda. Romance, suspense, mystery, action and thrills abound, and then some.

Fans of the Cassie Scot series and romantic fantasy will gobble this one up. Amsden hooks us from page one and doesn’t let us go until the end. With minimalist descriptions, non-stop action, and skillful characterization, this author delivers a tale that both engages and captivates. I was also impressed by the world building and all the fascinating dynamics about werewolves and their packs. I was able to forget reality and immersed myself into the world of the impossible. Highly recommended!

Visit the author’s website or find out more on Amazon. You can also check out the publisher at Twilight Times Books.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

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Profile: Christine Amsden, Author of ‘Madison’s Song’

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“Writing has taught me the importance of self-confidence in becoming good at anything,” says Christine Amsden, who, in spite of having been diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision, has gone on to become the award-winning, bestselling author of the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective fantasy/mystery series published by Twilight Times Books.

“My parents encouraged reading a LOT,” says this speculative fiction writer, who grew up gobbling up The Chronicles of Narnia, The Baby Sitter’s Club, andFlowers in the Attic. “I know they read to me too, but I was an advanced reader at an early age and preferred to read on my own when I could. I have memories of staring at picture books, making up stories about the pictures though I couldn’t understand the words.” At the tender age of 8, she wrote her first short story, about Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars. From then on, she wrote fairly consistently until 2003, which marked the beginning of her professional career when she attended a workshop with Orson Scott Card.

Amsden may be legally blind, but she hasn’t allowed that part of her life to stop her from becoming a prolific author, and nowadays she splits her time between writing, freelance editing, and coaching — with a keen focus on writing. She loves to write about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations, giving special attention to people and relationships, her way of making science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. “I will continue to marry romance with speculative fiction because I simply love both genres,” states the author. “I love a good character story. I think character is more important than just about anything else, and a great character will have me reading any genre at all and loving it. I get a lot of people telling me that they like my books even though they ‘don’t normally read stuff like that.’ I think it’s because of the characters.”

In what she describes as her messy, cluttered desk, and with a special arm attached to her monitor to help her eyes and back, Amsden creates her stories rich in characterization and world building. Her latest book, Madison’s Song, a companion to her Cassie Scot series, is about a shy young woman who has suffered more than her fair share of betrayal in the past. A friend of Cassie (the only ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers), Madison now gets a chance to prove that she can be more than a plump, shy sidekick. When her brother’s life is in danger, she faces her greatest fear with head held high to save him. The story is equally about Scott, a werewolf who has fallen in love with a woman he doesn’t believe he deserves.

MadisonsSong_medAmsden’s writing style is straightforward and conversational, which is probably why most readers and reviewers describe her work as highly entertaining and fast paced. “I’m not the sort to hide the story behind flowery prose,” she says. “I like the words to get out of the way of the story.” She’s a fast writer as well, finishing the rough draft of the book in only two months, though she then put it aside for a year before revising it, a process that took her five additional months. Her writing process, though fluid, is different with each book. “My best story ideas are the ones that come to me while I’m doing something else, although this doesn’t excuse me from putting in my hours of conscious effort. No two projects that I’ve worked on have developed in exactly the same way, either. I like to try new strategies, mix things up, so life doesn’t get boring.”

Like the Cassie Scot series, Madison’s Song will also be available in audiobook format, which is how Amsden “reads” most books these days. “It was important to me, when I became an author, to make my books available to listen to as well as read, and not just for others with disabilities. Audiobooks are a terrific way to enjoy books for busy people whose reading time can be combined with a daily commute, or with housework.”

Like most authors, Amsden loves sharing her creative ideas with the world, something which can be understandably challenging. “Nothing is universally liked,” states the author. “I try not to read negative comments or reviews, but it’s almost impossible to avoid all of it. When someone ‘gets me’ I feel an almost euphoric connectedness to the world; when someone doesn’t, (in a really big way), it almost makes me feel isolated.”

The definition of success varies from writer to writer. For Amsden, it has changed since she started writing. “At one time (not too long ago), I had an unrealistic expectation of success that involved becoming a bestseller and making an upper-class living off of my books,” she confesses. “When the Cassie Scot series came out, I sold thousands of books but still didn’t make the kind of money that would let me ‘earn a living’ off of it. It made me rethink my definition of success, becauseMessyDeskby all measurable standards my books are doing well – I’ve got great reviews, I’ve won several awards, I’ve sold many thousands of books, and I’m making money. I feel most successful when I connect with readers who love my books. So maybe that’s what success is. I’d love to connect with more readers, sell more books, and make more money, but I’m becoming satisfied with who and what I am now. (Like Cassie.)”

At the moment, the author is waiting for her next book, Kaitlin’s Tale, to be released by Twilight Times Books. She’s also hard at work on a new series set in a completely different world and with a new cast of characters. Though it’s way too early to say much about it, readers can count on it being filled with romance and the paranormal.

A native of St. Louis, Christine Amsden now lives in Olathe, Kansas with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success, and their two beautiful children.

TouchofFateSigningBibliography:

Touch of Fate (Twilight Times Books, 2006)

The Immortality Virus(Twilight Times Books, 2011)

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Twilight Times Books, 2013)

Secrets and Lies (Twilight Times Books, 2013)

Mind Games (Twilight Times Books, 2014)

Stolen Dreams (Twilight Times Books, 2014)

Madison’s Song (Twilight Times Books, 2015)

Connect with Christine Amsden on the web:

Character Interview: Crown Prince Ashamet from Terry jackman’s fantasy adventure: ‘Ashamet, Desert-Born’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Prince Ashamet from Terry Jackman’s new fantasy adventure, ‘Ashamet, Desert-Born’.  The handsome prince is 30 this year, a soldier and heir to the throne of Kadduchan.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, your highness.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

That’s a good question. I’m sure some of my father’s courtiers would describe me very differently. But since their versions wouldn’t agree either I’ll be gracious, and allow that Terry probably got as close as a female could.

Ashamet-CoverDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

A female could hardly truly understand a warrior-type. It’s amusing how complex she’s tried to make me appear though. Everyone who really knows me will tell you I’m just a simple soldier. I leave the devious stuff to my father. And of course to my team of eyes and ears.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My sword arm? All right, if we’re to be serious I suppose Terry did get that part right; I am pretty stubborn. I don’t back down. Ever.

Worse trait?

Some would tell you it’s my sense of humour – only they don’t necessarily phrase it like that. But is it my fault the world around me is so often ridiculous? At least it spices up the boredom between battles.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

What the gods is a “movie”? Oh, a street performer? Any such who pretended to be me would quickly find themselves whipped raw, or in a dungeon while my father’s questioners enquired who had paid him to, and with what motives.

If I wanted an imposter though, a body double to allow me to sneak off unnoticed… there’s a commoner of yours called Alan Rickman who might do; he’s not unlike, and has a face that promises a wicked sense of humour.

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

Gods, no, I just like sex. Lots of. Well, maybe it’s not always entirely physical. I mean, I might get interested in someone because they’re… interesting, or a puzzle. But there’s definitely no sighing, or poetry or anything embarrassing like that. Definitely not.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

Hells, I spent most of the book nervous about one thing or another. That and cursing it. I didn’t mind the assassination attempts but the rest… I tell you, I don’t want anything to do with priests. Let alone magic. Give me problems I can throttle!

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

That has to be old Sil. Well, the look of him is enough to put you off your food, don’t you think? Of all the High Priests he’s always been the one I liked least. The other two have some redeeming features but Sil… that one’s all about number one. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

How do you feel about the ending of the book, without giving too much away? 

I’ll tell you one thing: I was seriously worried there; I’ve never slept so badly. And I doubt I’m out of the storm even now.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Less magic would be nice, but alas Terry seems to like making my life complicated. But then she’s a writer and my spies say writers don’t always know what they’ll write next. In fact, according to her we write all this stuff. That’s obviously a lie. I mean, I’m certainly no writer, and how could I know what’s in my future?

Thank you for this interview, Prince Ashamet.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? 

As I said, ask Terry. Assuming she knows. Rumour is she’s been meeting up with some very different types recently but as usual she’s not talking to anyone about her writing. Just my luck my author turns out to be one of the shy ones. That’s one thing she didn’t get from me!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Ashamet, Desert-Born

Genre: Fantasy/adventure/romance/paranormal

Author: Terry Jackman

Website: www.terryjackman.co.uk

Publisher: www.dragonwellpublishing.com

Find out more on Amazon

A desert world. A warrior nation that worships its emperor as a god. But for Ashamet, its prince, a future filled with danger…

Ashamet is confident his swordsmanship, and his arranged marriage, will be enough to maintain the empire’s peace. But when a divine symbol magically appears on his arm, closely followed by an attempt on his life, he no longer knows who to trust. Worse, the strange attraction he feels toward a foreign slave could be another trap. As events unravel, too fast,Ashamet must find out if this innocent young male is a tool for his enemies–or the magic key to his survival.

“Ashamet, Desert-Born” is a debut adventure fantasy with an exotic Arabian-style setting and elements of same-sex romance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Terry Jackman was christened Teresa, and is married with kids. She’s not pretending to be a guy just for the book. It’s just that nobody, but nobody, calls her anything but Terry, so Terry is actually the most honest name to put on the cover.

To go with her two names she inhabits two worlds. In one she’s a mild-mannered lady who tutors children and lives in a pretty English village, called Lymm. [It’s not far from the Manchester United football ground. You can take a peek at it onwww.lymmvillage.co.uk/gallery If you look carefully at the picture of the old stone cross in the village centre you might see the ancient stocks below, where villagers would have thrown rotten eggs etc at local miscreants – but we don’t do that now, honest.]

In the other, she’s written articles and study guides, is secretly on the committee of the British Science Fiction Association, coordinates all their online writers’ groups, writes a regular page for Focus magazine and reads submissions for Albedo One magazine in Ireland. Oh, and has been known to do convention panels and some freelance editing.

When Ashamet goes public the two worlds will finally collide. She suspects there’ll be some raised eyebrows so she’s stocking up on fortifying tea and biscuits – and lots of chocolate!

Character Interview: Tom Evanger from Joel Fox’s paranormal suspense, “The Mark on Eve.”

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Tom Evanger from Joel Fox’s new paranormal suspense, The Mark on Eve.  Tom Evanger is a 34-year-old newspaper reporter living in Los Angeles, California.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Cover (3)Thank you so much for this interview, Tom.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

The readers should know I’m a damn good reporter and that’s how I should be judged. My sex should have nothing to do with the assignments I get. I think I’m as fair and just in my dealings with all people no matter their gender. I don’t like to leave any doubts — I am not prejudiced against female reporters. I just think I can do the job and don’t like to be denied because of the way I was born. Sorry if that attitude offends anybody.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Not everyone’s as good a writer as me so I’ll give the author a pass. He did all right. Maybe he made me look a little sneaky, I’m not really that way, I was just doing my job. I could have gotten the information and the interviews without all the stealth. But, that’s not the way he colored me.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m aggressive.

Worse trait?

I’m aggressive. I tend to offend when I push for the truth but sometimes that’s the only way I’ll get it.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Brad Pitt. Right. Tough but good looking; good with the ladies, but faithful, too. I like that. At least, I try to be faithful.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, at least I thought so, but we started drifting apart. As to, Eve, very intriguing lady, but not love.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When they took the plum assignment from me. I was covering a presidential campaign and they kicked me off. Needed a woman to do the job. I’d never live up to my father’s superstar reputation if they wouldn’t let me do important reporting. Little did I know where the new assignment would lead me and how big a story that could be.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would not want to be Governor Judith Rhodes. I don’t need to run for president. I don’t need the attention a politician requires. What I need is to take them apart. That’s what I’m built for. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of investigative reporters like me.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The real ending, the last sentence makes a statement about me. I’m good with that. But there were some delicious reporting opportunities that ended in disappointment for me personally.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Make me the star. Give me an opportunity to show what I can do and let me do it.

Thank you for this interview, Tom.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

It’s up to the big guy, although I hate having to listen to another editor tell me what to do.  I’m told this book is a stand alone, whatever that means. But I’m available.

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Title: The Mark on Eve

Genre: Suspense

Author: Joel Fox

Website: http://www.joelfox.com/

Publisher: Bronze Circle Books

Purchase on Amazon  

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Joel FoxJoel Fox has spent over 30 years in California politics, serving on numerous state commissions, working on many ballot issue campaigns, and advising candidates. An adjunct professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University, Fox has authored hundreds of opinion pieces for numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal,Washington Post, USA Todayand Los Angeles Times. Joel Fox is also the author of the Zane Rigby mystery series—Lincoln’s Hand and FDR’s Treasure— in which an FBI Special Agent must solve a puzzle from the past of an American president to solve modern day murders.  A native of the Boston area, Joel Fox lives in Los Angeles.

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Character Interview: Caleb Madroc from Donna Galanti’s paranormal suspense, ‘A Hidden Element’

?????????????????????????????????????????????We’re thrilled to have here today Caleb Madroc from Donna Galanti’s new paranormal suspense novel, book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element.  Caleb is 25 and an Elyon Community cult member living in the wilds of Oregon in a secret community his father created.

It is a pleasure to have Caleb with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Caleb. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I am not as saintly as the author makes me out to be. I train our community to kill people with their minds, and I cannot save all the lost souls hurt by my father’s oppression. I should do more to escape his evil rule, and stop him! He believes I’m weak and I can never be as strong as he, and I think he may be right. But I should still try to stop him, even while he threatens to kill my sons if I don’t obey him! And I know I’m weak, because I’ve never tried to stop my father’s hateful leadership because he is my father. Even while I hate him, part of me still loves him and yearns for his fatherly love that I once had as a child.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I help others in my community. I save them from severe punishment, and even death, and in doing so put myself in the position to be punished by whipping. I can stand the whippings—if it means sparing the punished some pain. Those scars I can bear. The scars of my lost love, Rachel, and not knowing my sons sear my heart forever.

Worse trait?

Not having the strength to fight my father and stop him from his evil oppression of our people. I fear he will kill my sons if he does.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Sam Winchester from Supernatural! He is strong and tormented and on a dangerous mission like me, yet has a full heart ready to give away if he only had the chance.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In my community we are forced to breed as dictated by my father. This sickens me and so for years I pretended to be impotent, but lost my will just once at nineteen. She had been such a beautiful, sweet female. Rachel was her name and she pleased me across a sea of soft nights. I fell in love with her from that first night, possessing her body, soul, and mind. But our bond was soon severed. She was sent to mate with another…and then another and another. But she was already pregnant then with our twins I would never know, raised by a community of women. And I would never get to touch her again, until the day I led her to her death. You can read about my first love interest before I came to Oregon in The Dark Inside.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I was betrayed by an evil whore, my father was taken away, and I thought I’d lose my sons forever. I grew so weary of helping everyone else and never helping myself. All seemed lost.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really want to be and why?

Ben Fieldstone. He and I are very much alike. We both are willing to sacrifice all for our families, and for love. Yet he’s lucky as he got to be a father to his son, unlike me who’s been separated from my own sons. He also gets to love Laura, who is beautiful inside and out. I will always keep close in my heart the secret night I spent with her where we were forced together in an intimate space. We did not betray Ben, though it was difficult to not make love to her. My desire for her was – and is – very strong.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Torn. I get a sense of hope, but what I also know about normal society drives fear in me that all may not go well. I am afraid of going from one prison to another prison of a different making.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Please give me someone to love of my own choosing. Live has been so full of ugliness and loneliness these past few years. And let me watch my sons grow to become the amazing men I know they will become.

Thank you for this interview, Caleb! Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I am hopeful I can assimilate into regular society and that the world can accept me, even with the terrible things I’ve been forced to do. Don’t judge me by what I’ve done through oppression rather judge me for what’s in my heart.

ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so? 

PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall

 “Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

 “Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

Donna GalantiABOUT DONNA:

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com

Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o
Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO
ON SALE NOW THROUGH 8/31 FOR JUST $.99cents!

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! 

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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.

For More Information

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!

Profile: Donna Galanti, Author of ‘A Human Element’

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit,Little House in the Big WoodsThe Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild and White Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

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