Archive for the ‘#ya’ Tag

Now on PreOrder   1 comment

Multi-genre author Lela Markham is entering into the YA market with the first book in “What If…Wasn’t” series.

$2.99 while on preorder. Price will increase to retail March 18.

Red Kryptonite Curve

Never judge a book by its cover.

Peter Wyngate’s life is easy – viewed from the outside. Handsome, intelligent, athletic, musically talented, he can have any girl he wants. His father’s a rich powerful man who can send his kid on European summer tours and bestow cool cars. He’s got a great best friend and a fiercely loyal sister. 

In a matter of days at the end of the summer before heading to college, Peter learns that all the advantages of his life might actually be stumbling blocks when influenced by red kryptonite.

Interview with Ryan Hill   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Ryan Hill. Welcome to the blog, Ryan. Tell us something about yourself.

Ryan Hill Author PicI’m 21 years old, live in West Newbury, MA, and am originally from Greenwich, CT.  I attend the college of UMASS Amherst, and I’m studying to be an English major.  I’m also writing my second novel, but it’s taking a whole lot longer than I expected.



At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I knew I wanted to be a writer in sixth grade.  I had to write a four-page mystery for my English class but instead wrote a 25-page scifi.  Ever since then, I have been writing fiction.


My teachers hated when I would do that. Tell us about your writing process.

For my first novel, I had a daily quota of writing I needed to hit.  My book ended up being a hell of a lot longer than it should have been, but I did complete it in a matter of months.  My goal was to just sit down and write everyday without any care toward how long it would become.  I started writing thinking I would never reach a full length novel’s word count.  I was very wrong.

My second novel has been much slower for me.  I don’t have a daily quota, and I keep restarting the book trying to get it to sound just right.  The good news is, I have been making steady progress, and it is getting longer by the day, but it’s taking me years where my first novel took me months.


I always go back to revisit the beginning on rewrite. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Ryan Hill Author Pic 2My favourite genre to read is horror, and my favourite genre to write is horror.


What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about writing a good novel, and I’m struggling to produce one.


What is something you cannot live without?

I can’t live without my family.  The house feels so empty if one of them is away.



When you are not writing, what do you do?

I am full-time student, but when I’m not studying, I work out at the gym and watch a lot of movies. I am a huge fan of film and hope to take some screenwriting courses this spring.


Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

Ryan Hill Barking Madness ebook coverBarking Madness is the only book I’ve completed thus far, and it did change the way I view myself.  Whenever I think I can’t do something, I think back to my writing that novel.  That accomplishment is still my greatest.


Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Movies.  I want to write fiction that makes others feel how movies have made me feel.


What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I do minimal research.  Fact checking is the biggest.  I write about things I already know about.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

Well, my first and only novel right now, Barking Madness, is really childish.  I wrote it when I was 18, and it’s about 18 years old.  The language and descriptions match what you would expect of an 18-year-old narrator but because of this, there’s never any rational adult thinking taking place.


Do you have a special place where you write?

No.  I’ll write anywhere.  I do like my room, though.


Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

I do like the whole man-becoming-monster thing.  Something about a good man or woman becoming horribly evil gets me going.  I tend to like those characters more than the others when I’m watching them on the television or reading about them in a book.


Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

I’m more of a plot-driven writer because I like the whole show-don’t-tell formula of writing.  Put people in a terrible situation and see who rises to the occasion.  I always think that’s amusing to watch or write about.


Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I write from an outline because it helps keep me on track with where the plot is going.  I also like having the ending set in stone before I start writing anything.  I like knowing where the characters and story will end up.


What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I prefer to write in first person because it’s so much easier to write from a character’s narrow viewpoint when describing a situation or object.  When writing from third person, I find it hard to seemingly move on from situation to situation or object to object.


Do you head-hop?

I am writing my second novel in third person, so there is no head-hopping, but my first novel, which is in first person, has no head-hopping either.


I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?


I will bring a great television system, a ton of movies, and a computer.  I will watch those movies and write a book during my stay, nothing more.



Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

No it wasn’t.  I write for the fun of it and for the readers’ entertainment.  If the readers aren’t entertained, then they should stop reading my book.


What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I just want them to have a good time, that’s all.


What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Nobody would publish my book, and I really wanted to hold it.



There are people that believe traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

No, because there are hundreds of thousands of books published each year.  In order to find the good ones, it helps if they have been represented by a publishing company.  Usually self-publishing comes with connotation that the books are not as good as the ones that are published traditionally.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

All the money you make is your own.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Positive publicity.  Almost everyone I have spoken with about my book treats it more officially because it is published.  Before I got it published, all I had was a manuscript that most people thought unworthy of reading.


With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Get it published traditionally and more recognition will come with it, or make sure it’s real damn good and all the reviewers like it.  Hopefully, word of mouth will spread.


Who designed your book cover/s?

I bought my book cover online from The Cover Collection. They were great to work with and had a lot of covers to pick from.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Self-published authors can definitely produce as high-quality books as traditionally published authors.  Getting your book recognized without traditional publishing is the hard part.  Less reviewers are willing to read your book because it hasn’t been backed by a publishing house.


Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

No. I reach out to people on facebook through groups and on twitter as well.




Interview with Jean Neff Guthrie   2 comments

Guthrie Author PicToday’s interview is with YA fantasy Jean Neff Guthrie. Tell us something about yourself, Jean.

I grew up on a farm in Virginia and have a B.S. degree in Dairy Science from VA Tech. While working in Richmond, Virginia, I earned my M.S. degree in Mass Communications from VA Commonwealth University. That combination gave me a unique capacity to converse effectively with large herds of cows. (Lela laughs) Seriously, my life path has taken a number of twists and turns, but writing and speaking have always been on the trail.

In February, I published my first novel, “Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen.” It launched as Amazon #1 New Release in Children’s American Folk Tales & Myths. A few days later, it hit Amazon #1 Best Seller in Children’s eBooks > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths > United States. I’ve gone a long way from cowgirl to best-selling author.


Guthrie AriaWhat happens in your “Mystical Aria” book?

In 2028, Aria Vanir, psychic 12-year-old from Virginia Beach, connects through her transmission diary with spiritually and technologically advanced aliens, the Gallions. The Gallion Queen Supreme, Nashata, orders a diplomatic mission with her royal family to Earth so she can test Aria’s worthiness of first contact. Nashata wonders if she can trust Aria with the secrets of her people.

When these good aliens beam Aria, her BFF, Tommy Manager, and her tomboyish 15-year old sister, Jackie, aboard their superspaceship, Aria’s typically passive mother makes a bold move to save her daughters. None of them realize that the Navy has sent Aria’s SEAL father, William, on a mission to capture or destroy the aliens. Worse, he has no idea that he’s putting his daughters and their friend in harm’s way.


That sounds like a really fun story. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Guthrie Book 3DDuring my tween and teen years, I enjoyed writing poetry, plays, essays, greeting cards, and articles for the yearbook. For a while, I wanted to be a foreign news correspondent. After I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1995, I yearned to write a book. I felt something was missing; something inside me wanted to be told.


Tell us about your writing process.

I took a weekend class at Emory University, in Atlanta, taught by Tom Bird. He talked about how we can release books stuck inside us by getting into the flow and writing fast to bypass the critical, left brain. I worked with Tom’s programs of independent mentoring, media workshops, and writing weekends. Years later, after much soul searching and editing, I felt ready to release my first novel.


What are you passionate about?

I feel passionate about creating entertaining media that inspires kids to react from love, not fear, thus bringing more peace into their lives. I believe there’s too much violence in the world, especially for youngsters. I chose to write about spiritual/religious themes of love, prosperity, infinity, and forgiveness in a “funtastic” tone to capture hearts of kids and adults. In “Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen,” I created a girl’s version of Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.”

Since I don’t have children of my own, I want to leave a legacy of positive stories that kids enjoy reading for generations.


Books are legacies, I think. When you are not writing, what do you do?

To pay the bills, I work in the Atlanta area as an information technology program management consultant. For my health, I hike, bike, ski, swim, lift weights, and practice yoga. In the precious few moments of downtime, I play the piano or listen to music while relaxing on my porch.


How does your experience in management help you with writing and book publishing?

I’ve been blessed with both a strong creative side and a highly organized side. Association management and program management taught me how to effectively work with vendors, plan tasks, execute according to a schedule, change when needed, and focus on priorities. I even created a Kanban board on my office wall to track progress of publishing and promoting my first novel.


Guthrie Aria Promo


What inspired you to write YA science fiction, especially about a psychic girl?

I first heard the voice of Aria Vanir, the psychic tween protagonist in my novel, during a media retreat with Tom Bird and David Thalberg, co-founder of BrandStand PR. I had been writing a book about a girl named Red and her spirit guide when this other girl’s voice, named Aria, took over the conversation in my head and started telling me about her life. After journaling an hour or so with Aria about her friends, family, diary entries, and intuitive impressions, I knew I needed to trust this captivating girl and introduce her to the world.



It great when characters “hijack” the story. Do you have a special place where you write?

My favorite place to write is a landing on the second floor of my Smyrna, Georgia, home that faces east. I see the sky through windows in front of me and to my right. I listen to music that inspires my creativity. My pens and writing notepads are within reach. A large photograph I took of Machu Picchu hangs on a nearby wall and reconnects me to one of my favorite places on Earth.


What recurring themes do you find in your writing?

I write about how we can connect with something greater than ourselves to live more peaceful and harmonious lives. In my novel, the good aliens have achieved peace on their planet. I hold a vision that humans can do the same on Earth.


I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Sounds like fun! I’ll bring:

  1. A large, blank notepad and pens of 3 different colors for writing. I prefer to write everything on paper first, even answers for this interview!
  2. Hiking boots and clothes. I love being outdoors and want to see the countryside.
  3. Camera to capture the beauty of Alaska, especially the stars. I miss nights on the farm when I could see the Milky Way and distinguish various constellations.
  4. Gear to kayak or raft, assuming there’s a river near the cabin. Hopefully the water isn’t too cold.
  5. Laptop, if the cabin has Wi-Fi.
  6. Read books about Alaska wilderness or sacred traditions of the Eskimos.


I love the many varied answers I get to that question! What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

After reading my book, I want readers smiling and thinking that they can’t wait to start the sequel. I also want them to believe that they can choose to live more peaceful lives.


What’s unique about how you published your book?

I consider how I released my book to be a hybrid of independent and publisher-based. I used marketing and formatting in Tom Bird’s Publish Now Program, so the copyright page states Sojourn Publishing, LLC. However, I hired my own illustrator and found excellent editors through BookLogix, a publishing company in the Atlanta area.


Who designed your book cover?

Michele Phillips Illustration designed the cover. I wanted to find someone who could draw Aria Vanir and the alien queen as I had described them in the novel. The first three illustrators I tried failed because they drew the alien queen as an ugly, scary figure. In my mind, this spiritually and technologically advanced alien ruler was a beautiful creature who wanted to enlighten, not frighten, kids. Michele’s first sketch of the alien queen showed me that she “got” this vision.

Michele’s cover conveys critical moments in the first and second chapters when a futuristic message from Aria’s transmission diary is relayed via a unicorn to the alien queen supreme. Michele nailed it!


I think it is so important that a cover relates to the story. What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Years ago I secured a literary agent, but she never sold the novel to a publisher. I knew technology for self-publishing was coming. In the meantime, I worked with editors to improve my novel. In early 2015, I started having nightmares. They communicated to me that I was on the wrong path professionally; I knew I needed to finish editing my novel and publish it. I signed up for Tom Bird’s Publish Now Program and made a personal commitment to focus on completing this goal within a year. I launched “Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen” February 8, 2016.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

Ownership of my characters and control of communications.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Fame from endorsement of a reputable publisher.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as those traditionally published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

I believe self-published authors can produce high-quality work when they combine passion, drive, strong editing, and words from the heart.


Jean Neff Guthrie is the author of Mystical Aria: Seeking the Gallion Queen, which hit Amazon #1 Best Seller in February, 2016. Visit for novel highlights and purchase. Click here for VIP Access to Aria, which includes two free chapters, character map, promotions, news, fun facts, and more. #AriaVanir #JeanNeffGuthrie #MysticalAria #ET


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