Category Archives: Interview

Death by Diploma book tour #review & interview

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Welcome to my stop on the Death by Diploma book tour. It’s my first cozy and I’ll be sharing an interview with the author and a review. Many thanks to Kelley for allowing me to take part.

Death-by-Diploma-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

 

Death by Diploma

By Kelley Kaye

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.  There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

Review

This was my first cozy so I didn’t know what to expect from this genre. I got a good little story about a new teacher, her new fast friend and fellow teacher who decide to solve a murder they’ve practically stumbled upon. I enjoyed the read and would recommend this book to those who like cozy mysteries.

Interview –

Please tell me about yourself

My real name is Kelley Gusich, but I write cozy murder mysteries under the name Kelley Kaye (which is my middle name, but without the ‘e’.) I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, went to school in California to become a teacher. I started my career in Lake Tahoe, but then a 1994 diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis brought me back to Colorado and the comfort of family, where I taught at my old high school for 16 years. Issues with my health brought me back to California, to the more temperate climate of San Diego.I’ve been in SD since 2011, writing whenever possible, and now that my two little boys are in school full tIme, I get to write full time! My debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released in February! ;

Can you tell me something about you that no one knows?

I practice what I’m going to say in my head before I say it. All the time. I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing so much, because it’s the BEST way to practice (and practice, rewrite, ponder, reflect, redirect and obsess) what you’re going to say before you say it.

What are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading a book called Flesh and Blood, by Patricia Cornwell—it’s been a while since I read her, but Kay Scarpetta is a great character. I’m working on reading my next Book Club book, which is nonfiction titled The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Have you ever heard of Hela cells? Well I hadn’t either, but it is fascinating! Also I’m working on two of the newest books by other RAP authors: Stephen Kozeniewski and John DeBoer.

Some favourite books and authors?

I think, until I die, I will read anything and everything written by Harlan Coben, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. My favorite favorite titles by those three are, respectively, Innocence, Life Expectancy, and 11-22-63. Now that I say that, of course, forty other titles by those writers come to me and I want to change my answer—so many choices! I love Lee Child. I reread the Wrinkle in Time trilogy about every three years, also To Kill a Mockingbird and/or Of Mice and Men and I still cry every time.

What is your work space and routine like?

This is the corner of my bedroom, AKA my office (picture at bottom).

There’s a sign taped next to the chair, on the dresser. It lays out my schedule for each day, which starts with my magazine writing job—I write for a set of 11 community magazines in North County San Diego called Zcode Magazines. So I do that first, then the rest of the day is divided between writing (I have four fiction and one nonfiction project in progress right now), social media, sending queries and other marketing.

Did any of your own personal teaching experience end up in the book? 

I think some of Emma’s interactions with students might be true to the way I would talk to students, but as far as specific experiences in the book—they’re all made up!

What do you have planned for the Chalkboard Outlines series?

All your cozy fun—more quirky characters, fun relationships, and of course more Shakespeare! Each of the books will have an alliterative title and be about teaching and murder!

What can readers look forward to next?

I’ve started writing book #2 in the Chalkboard Outlines series, so, more fun with Emma, Leslie and Shakespeare! I’ve just finished the first draft of a humorous self-help memoir (not a genre. Yet.) for which I’m seeking representation, and if I EVER get any more time it’ll be to work on more Cozy Mysteries, more Narrative Nonfiction, and more Young Adult Paranormal. Count on seeing me!

COZYkELLY

Author Bio

Kelley KayeKelley Kaye taught High School English and Drama for twenty years, but her love for
storytelling dates back to creating captions for her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created around her Barbie and Ken — whatever the case, the love’s been around for a long time.

Kelley is married to this amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and
wonderful sons. She lives in Southern California.

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

On Twitter: @kelkay1202

Check out the book trailer for Death by Diploma: https://youtu.be/CAMXkR3kA-8

 

 

 

Interview with author @bettyrocksteady

Rocksteady

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Hatred and desire collide when the girl next door is a giant spider

Alex’s arachnophobia may be old fashioned, but he’s able to live a life of relative peace despite it. That all changes when a spider moves in next door. His girlfriend is sick of his attitude and begs him to give the new neighbor a chance. He overcomes his fear, but finds a twisted sexuality in its place. His attraction to the spider affects all areas of his life, and changes everything he thought he knew.

 

I read and reviewed Arachnophile last year in November when the latest books in the new bizarro author series had been released. I loved it, seriously this series makes me so happy. For a start it gives new authors a helping hand to get out there and find a readership, second it gives people like me who like a bit or a lot of strange with their reading a very satisfying go to place. Arachnophile was a beautiful strange entertaining read that I highly recommend checking out. If you are a bizarro fan you’ll love it and if you are new to bizarro its a great place to start.

Thank you to Betty for the review copy and for taking part in the interview.

 

 

Please tell me about yourself

I’m an author and illustrator from Canada and my interests lie in mostly the horror and weird realm of things. I grew up reading Weekly World News and old horror comics. My favorite stories are ones where terrible things happen and my favorite art is unsettling. This quote by Edward Gorey sums up my creative process pretty well “My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that’s what the world is like.”

Can you share something about yourself that no one knows

I’m a pretty open book, but any of my social media friends and followers probably don’t know that I used to read A LOT of the Babysitter’s Club.

What are you reading now?

I just finished an extreme horror collection called DOA II and it was fantastic. Slowly getting through The Ritual by David Pinner – beautifully written but I’ve been taking my time with it.

Some favourite books and authors

Alice in Wonderland, forever. Stephen King has been a constant favorite over the years. I’ve been reading Kealan Patrick Burke’s novellas lately and really enjoying them. Joe Hill’s books and comics are fantastic.

What is your work space and writing routine like

Full of cats and clutter. My writing routine hasn’t settled into a real routine yet, it seems to change month to month and depending on what I’m working on. I try to write FAST though, get the rough draft out as quickly as possible. I usually do at least a general outline so I know how to get from point A to point B, or at least what point B is.

How did you discover the bizarro genre and become one of the NBAS?

I had read a bit of bizarro (mostly Joe R. Lansdale) before I really knew what bizarro was, but I’ve always loved weird horror and things that take you in a new direction. I got to know Garrett Cook, this year’s NBAS editor on facebook and took a few of his workshops. He liked my stuff and helped warp it. I had been writing kinda predictable horror before that, but he was able to show me how to bring the true weird outta my soul. He invited me to participate in NBAS and it was (and is) an awesome experience.

Your debut novella Arachnophile is an awesome read, please tell everyone about your new books

Arachnophile is surreal and wet and buggy. I tried to put myself in a Lynchian Eraserhead frame of mind while I was writing it. Alex is a conservative guy who is just trying to live a normal life. The problem is, he’s afraid of spiders. Maybe not such a huge problem, but giant spiders are firmly intermeshed in the society in which he lives and its impossible to avoid them. Against his will, a neighbor spider weaves her way into his life in a way he never expected. You can pick it up here.http://www.amazon.com/Arachnophile-Betty-Rocksteady-ebook/dp/B0172MQ4RQ/

I’ve just finished writing a novella inspired by a nightmare. A girl is saved from some thugs by her grandfather. The thing is, her grandfather has been dead for years. When he brings her back to his new apartment to explain, he doesn’t seem quite himself, and she finds it impossible to leave. I’m hoping to have it released this year, so keep an eye on my website athttp://www.bettyrocksteady.com or my facebook https://www.facebook.com/bettyrocksteadyart

Did you do any arachnid and entomology research for your book?

I did! Even though my book is strange and obviously fantastical, I wanted it to have a flavor of realism and an understanding of spiders apparent. The thing is, before writing it, I was actually a bit of an arachnophobe myself! I watched quite a few spider documentaries and read a lot of articles about how their bodies and reproductive system work. By the time I was done with that and with writing my book, I found myself undergoing a change of heart similar to Alex. I think spiders are pretty cool now and they don’t gross me out nearly as much.

 

Rocksteady“My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that’s what the world is like.” -Edward Gorey

Betty Rocksteady is an eclectic author and illustrator from Canada. Her early exposure to Stephen King, The Weekly World News, and EC horror comics shaped her into the woman she is today. With art and fiction, she explores personal fears and resonances.

My debut novella, Arachnophile, is part of this year’s Eraserhead Press New Bizarro Author Series. Release date November 5, 2015!

Betty can be found online at Web | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook |

I do monthly illustrations at Theme of Absence

Here’s some short fiction available online:
Devil’s Night

The Clown Society

In The Deep Web

Interview with SuperGhost author Scott Cole #bizarro #NBAS

Always pleased to feature a member of the New Bizarro Author Series, and when the proceeds from that authors book goes to charity well you can’t not share. I hope you’ll all check out the interview and give SuperGhost a try as all proceeds from the month of September goes to an excellent cause. Thank you to Scott for taking part.

 

SuperGhost

Dr. Griffin Rains is a mad scientist masquerading as a phantom limb therapist. When his patients realize that he’s stolen their phantom limbs and assembled them into a giant ghost-monster, they must band together to save the city from Rains and his latest abominable creation – the SuperGhost!

Part of the New Bizarro Author Series from Eraserhead Press.

Available now in paperback and ebook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

• Please tell me about yourself

Hello! My name is Scott. I’m fairly tall, unless I’m standing next to an extremely tall person. I have a pointy beard. I drink a lot of water, and I enjoy books.

• Please share if you would something about you that no one knows

Most people are surprised to find out that I hate bananas. HATE them. If something has even the slightest trace of banana in it, I gag, or at least, become very unpleasant to be around. Plantains are slightly better, but still deserve at least a percentage of my wrath.

• What are you reading now?

I just finished Violet LeVoit’s latest collection, I’ll Fuck Anything That Moves And Stephen Hawking, which was great. Now I’m finally digging into Jeremy Robert Johnson’s Skullcrack City, a little later than the cool kids did. So far, the hype is all true. It’s fantastic.

• Some favourite books and authors?

Pixel Juice by Jeff Noon, Eyeheart Everything by Mykle Hansen, Fantastic Orgy by Carlton Mellick III, Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis, Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, any collection of Thomas Ligotti’s work (although Teatro Grottesco immediately comes to mind), any collection of Ray Bradbury stories (maybe The October Country if I’m forced to choose), Uzumaki by Junji Ito, anything by comics creator Al Columbia.

Obviously I’m a fan of short stories.

• What is your work space and writing routine like?

Well, “routine” is a strong word…

Many writers will say you need one, and that it’s best to write every day, no matter what. But in reality – at least, in my reality – that’s just not feasible. So I write when I can, usually in spurts. I tend to focus on one thing, or a few things, for a while, then take a short break. That’s just the way things seem to work out. I hope to have more of a standard routine one day. I suppose I could do it if I quit my day job – but then I’d have to also quit eating and living under a roof. But we’ll see what happens down the line.

When I am writing, it’s usually on a laptop at my dining room table, which I know sounds very exciting. Occasionally it’s on a couch, or, even more rarely, in a coffee shop. I usually have music going, and it’s usually something electronic and instrumental. SuperGhost was written largely to the sounds of Aphex Twin and Ulrich Schnauss.

• How did you discover bizarro and why do you enjoy this genre?

I found bizarro (by that name, at least) back around 2006 or 2007. A friend had come across the term, and asked if I knew anything about it, since he knew I was into weird stuff. A few hours of internet time later, I had ordered a stack of books by CM3, Kevin L. Donihe, D. Harlan Wilson, and others.

I love bizarro simply for its lack of limitations. Anything can happen in bizarro, and usually does. Then things tend to get even weirder.

• How did you become one of the NBAS?

I had been interested in the NBAS for a while, and set a goal to submit something. I had actually planned to submit the year before I did, but things didn’t quite come together in time. I traveled to BizarroCon that year, though, and met tons of amazing people – writers, editors, and fans. And I kind of inadvertently soft-pitched SuperGhost to Spike Marlowe. A few months and a few revisions later, I officially submitted the book, and before too long, it was a real thing, out in the world.

• Please tell us about your book

SuperGhost is the story of a mad scientist who invents a way to steal phantom limbs from amputees, and then assemble them into a giant ghost-monster. The amputees then have to find a way to band together and defeat this phantom kaiju before the city is destroyed. It’s sort of like Frankenstein, by way of Cronenberg, Godzilla, and Monty Python.

• You are donating all proceeds from the book sale this month, please tell us about where the proceeds are going.

Yes, it’s SuperGhost September! I decided to donate 100% of my author royalties for the month to an organization that works to get prosthetic limbs for amputees who cannot otherwise afford them. In addition to that, I’ve got a bunch of fun prizes that people can win for purchasing and/or reviewing SuperGhost. All the details can be found right here: http://www.13visions.com/2015/09/superghost-september.html

Author Carly Ellen Kramer and How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé

how to bake

 

I have an interview with author Carly Ellen Kramer to share as well as a recipe and an excerpt from her book How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé which sounds like a delicious title. The book released in late 2014 is available now.

Forget what your English professor told you – life stories are not written in college.

Madeleine LaBlange, Annie Anderson, and Audrey Navarro shared formative years as roommates at Chicago’s Catholic haven for women, the historic Abbott College. If only they could have predicted the collisions between their carefully crafted life plans and the realities they discover beyond campus…

Madeleine harbors dreams of becoming a concert pianist while Dr. Reynold Fenwick, her mercurial graduate school mentor, harbors fantasies of Madeleine. Will pursuing her dreams be worth the cost? Will an evening in Budapest change her life forever?

Annie plans to build a perfect family with her perfect husband in the cutthroat news media industry, until an abrupt tragedy shakes the foundations of her marriage. What happens when she feels pulled between the two men she loves most, her husband and her father?

Audrey leaves her religious, restrictive parents behind and aims for Chicago’s downtown skyline, dating recklessly and staring down each grueling workday one Chicago Dog at a time. Will an island respite lure her away from her corporate future? When she finds herself in the arms of an unexpected lover, will she have the courage to stand up for her own evolving sense of self?

Follow the journeys of these remarkable women, and cheer them on as they navigate life, love, and chocolate soufflé.

Melitzanosalata
Melitzanosalata (Greek Eggplant Dip, pictured)

Pierce two medium size eggplant several times with a fork and grill until blackened and soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then scrape off blackened skins. Puree eggplant in a blender along with 2 cloves of fresh garlic, 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley (mint works well, too), 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with crisp vegetable slices or fresh pita bread. Makes about 2 cups.

 

Please tell me about yourself
I love to cook, and am fascinated by the connections between food and culture. I also love to travel, which lends itself quite nicely to exploring both new foods and new cultures! It’s only natural, I suppose, that my book characters often connect certain foods with pivotal life experiences. I feel very fortunate that my hobbies feed one another (pun intended).

Please share something about you that no one knows
I often write dialogue in my head while making jams and jellies. That probably sounds ridiculous, but making jams and jellies requires constant stirring over a bubbling pot for long periods of time. All of that repetitive stirring is very relaxing, and allows my mind to wander through conversations and conflicts my emerging characters are experiencing.

What are you reading now?
Hmm. I’m always reluctant to answer that… it’s like having your photo taken during a random, everyday moment, and then having people hold that image of you – whether or not you are smiling or your clothes match – forever! I read a LOT, and exactly what I read varies widely from one week to the next. Right now I’m reading Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons, Finding His Way Home by Mia Ross, and Lost and Found in Prague by Kelly Jones. Next week, who knows?

Some favourite books and authors?
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Other favorites include Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner, The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal, and Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. As you can see from the eclectic mix of fiction and nonfiction, there’s really not much predictability behind my favorite books and authors!

What is your work space and writing routine like? Please share a picture if willing
I spend some of my most productive writing time in coffeeshops at odd hours. The ability to people watch and, yes, eavesdrop on conversations often inspires the dialogue in my novels. I don’t mean that I steal conversations – nothing like that. Instead, I’m curious about speech patterns and the ways in which language evolves. New (to me) figures of speech, turns of phrases, slang words, positive and negative exclamations – those are the sorts of details that catch my attention. I also take note – literally – of body language. If the woman waiting for coffee next to me yells into her cell phone “Oh no, tell me he did NOT say that to you!”, I notice her nonverbals. Did she lift her head high on her neck while talking, or stick her head forward? Did she pace, or stand in place with a hand on her hip?

Sometimes I write at my messy desk in my home office.
Carly Ellen Kramer's desk

It’s just a plain old messy desk, really.

Food is a big part of your life, what is the best meal you’ve ever had?
The best meal that comes to mind at the moment was a three hour lunch at a tiny little bistro in Lichtenberg, France. My dining companions and I didn’t speak French, and the staff didn’t speak English, but a great deal of mutual smiling and miming led to an extraordinary experience. We sampled a little bit of everything, or so it seemed – pates and salads, fish and chicken, breads and cheeses, and the most exquisite desserts! Each plate looked so enticing that I took photos and had them printed into a series of notecards.

You work recipes into your books, do you come up with the recipe or story first?
The story always comes first. That’s the way it works in real life. Nobody ever says, “I want to make ten pounds of potato salad, but where shall I bring it?” A person is far more likely to say, “The neighbors are hosting a cookout to celebrate their son’s engagement – how exciting! Now, what shall I bring?”

Please tell us about How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé
How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé is about life experiences of three women who were roommates in college and followed very different paths after graduation. As time passes career and family dynamics evolve, and the women experience comedy, romance, drama, and steadfast friendship. There are so many “coming of age” books which tell the story of characters during their college years, and then the story ends. Many of those are great books, but I didn’t want to write a story like that. I wanted to write about what happens next, because a few years spent in school shouldn’t be the end of anything – those years should be the beginning of even bigger and better adventures to come!

What do readers have to look forward to next?
In Book 2 of the Cherry Harbor series, the three women featured in How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé take a small step into the background. The lead character is a young widow who is trying to rebuild her life while hiding terrible secrets. Three wise women (I told you, just a small step into the background) help her to find her way. A handyman who happens to look darn good in a pair of blue jeans and harbors a few secrets of his own may have a little something to do with the story line, too… 😉 Book 2 is a little edgier, I think. I’m looking forward to reviewing a proof copy soon!
A server appeared – it was Hektor, Annie realized in a flash of undeserved embarrassment – with a plate of tiny, artfully arranged Orektikó. Among the appetizer bites were petite dishes of eggplant melitzanosalata and tangy tzatziki with thin bell pepper slices for dipping, a pair of slender lamb filled dolmades, and two small triangles of tiropita bursting with feta and ricotta cheeses. The anniversary couple took their time and savored each bite, knowing that traditional Greek meals were luxuriously long affairs.

How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé can be found online at Amazon in print or ebook format, Crowded Earth Kitchen for signed copies and on Goodreads.

A server appeared – it was Hektor, Annie realized in a flash of undeserved embarrassment – with a plate of tiny, artfully arranged Orektikó. Among the appetizer bites were petite dishes of eggplant melitzanosalata and tangy tzatziki with thin bell pepper slices for dipping, a pair of slender lamb filled dolmades, and two small triangles of tiropita bursting with feta and ricotta cheeses. The anniversary couple took their time and savored each bite, knowing that traditional Greek meals were luxuriously long affairs.

“I fired Max yesterday,” Annie declared.

Bryant looked surprised. “Really? Why didn’t you –”

He cut himself short, remembering his unanticipated late night at work, and the three-against-one bedtime chaos he walked in on when he finally returned home. Bryant quickly changed the direction of his question.

“What finally did it?”

~How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé, page 90

The Alliance , by @ShannonRStoker #authorinterview

The Alliance goodreads-badge-add-plus-

 

The Alliance (The Registry #3)

To overthrow a brutal dictator and free her country, a brave young woman will risk her life and liberty to spark a revolution in this explosive final installment in Shannon Stoker’s electrifying Registry trilogy

“Beautifully written . . . a chilling and shocking look at a futuristic America that will stay with you long after you close the book.” —Jennifer L. Armentrout on The Registry

Mia Morrissey fled to Mexico to escape the government marrying her to someone she did not love. Now, she’s going risk everything so that the rest of America can be free.

Going undercover as part of a diplomatic mission, Mia returns to America. But life there is more dangerous than ever as the walls grow ever taller, and the forgotten country faces its most ruthless leader yet, Grant Marsden…a shadow from Mia’s past. With the help of Andrew, Carter, and other members of the subversive group Affinity, she embarks on a perilous journey to defeat Grant, bring down the government, and destroy the Registry once and for all.

When a terrible betrayal exposes the operation, Mia discovers that her enemies have used her—and so have her friends. Alone and frightened, she’s uncertain who to trust—or whether the mission is worth what she’s sacrificing.

With the fate of her friends and the future of her country on the line, Mia knows that her next step may be the last for her . . . and America.

Please tell me something about you that no one knows –

I have really good balance and sometimes I subconsciously stand on one leg. My husband says I look like flamingo.

What are you reading now? –

I’m in a bookclub and this month we are reading a”Needful Things” I’m also in the middle of The Magicians series

Some of your favourite books and authors? –

I’m a horror junkie and usually read scary books, but my favorite author is probably Terry Goodkind. When I’m in the mood for romance my go to is Jennifer Armentrout.

What is your work space and writing routine like? Share a pic of your work area if you like 🙂

stokerwork

I have a “writing room” but usually end up in the kitchen for some reason! I usually write at nights, probably working the most from 5- 10 pm. Friday nights tend to be when I get the bulk done.

Is there a genre you’ve yet to write but would like to try one day? –

I would love to try to write horror, but just don’t think I am scary enough.

Dystopian is a popular genre at the moment, what drew you to it? –

I think the freedom to bend the contemporary world. It’s not a landscape created from scratch like with fantasy, but more a different version of where we are living today.

For new readers could you tell us about The Registry series please? –

The Registry series is about a young woman named Mia Morrissey who decides she’s had enough with the predominantly patriarchal society she lives in, where women are traded like goods. With little to no knowledge of the outside world she enlists her father’s worker, Andrew to assist her. Even though the world they live in favors males, young men are seen as having no value whatsoever. The series follows these two as they try to break free of the world they live in.

What do readers have to look forward to next? –

I am working on something more contemporary at the moment. It centers around a young man, who may or may not have committed a vicious crime and the consequences that follow.

About Shannon Stoker

Shannon Stoker lives in DeKalb, IL. She received her undergraduate and law degree from Northern Illinois University where she now works as the Research Integrity Coordinator. It’s not a stretch to say she’s a die-hard Huskie fan!

When she’s not working or writing Shannon spends the majority of her time playing with her terrier mix Nucky or her husband.

She loves watching horror movies, including those straight to DVD classics most people never heard of. If she wasn’t an attorney or an author she would have been a beautician and is constantly bugging her friends to come over and let Shannon play with their hair.

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