Archive for November, 2015

November 25, 2015

Author Beth Warstadt’s tells about Megan’s Christmas Knight

Beth Warstadt is the author of Megan’s Christmas Knight, which was released about a week ago. I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while now, and I’m glad to finally get the chance to spotlight such a fun and inspiring person.

Readers can find out more about Beth Warstadt and her writing journey here on her web site. You can also find her books on Beth Warstadt’s Amazon page.

Beth was also kind enough to answer some questions for me to share. For your enjoyment, here it is!

Tell us about your new book, including where readers can find it for sale.

Megan’s Christmas Knight is a romantic Christmas fantasy. Megan is a woman running away from her life because of something terrible she has done. She is rescued by a mysterious stranger, Nick, who sends her on a quest that helps her learn about love and forgiveness. At the same time that he is helping her he begins to question some of his own rules about his life, especially the ones that keep him alone. It’s available through Amazon.com in both e-book and print formats.

Would you like to share a passage from your new book?

Megan has been saved by a mysterious stranger who would not let her see his face and then vanished through back of a man-made cave called a fogou. When she goes back to where she met him she sees him again.

She went back to the windswept cliffs, back to where she now knew the ancient fogou lay silently concealed in the peaceful countryside, back to where her adventure began. There was no storm today, no need for rescue. There were only her tortuous memories and the cliffs that offered their different kind of escape.

When horse and rider surprised her this time, they came without a whisper. She jumped at the warm hand on her shoulder and spun around to find him standing there, head still concealed under the black hood, leading the now serene white horse by reins he scarcely held. Her soul thrilled, but she couldn’t tell if it was excitement or terror that set her heart pounding. When he reached up slowly to push back the hood, her breath caught as she waited, wondering what was hidden underneath.

He was not a decaying, skeletal Ghost of Christmas Future. His face was young and handsome, and his blue eyes were at once merry and sad, as though he was glad to see her but knew the burdens of her heart. She could not tell his age, because he seemed to have the enthusiasm and wonder of youth and the wisdom and serenity of old age.

What kinds of works do you write, and how long have you been writing?

Like many writers, I began making up my own stories when I was a child It was when I turned 40, however, that I figured that I was probably about halfway through my life, and if I was going to write, I had better get started. I write romantic fantasy mostly, with touches of paranormal and history thrown in for good measure.

What is the most rewarding thing about writing?

I love feeling like I am in some small way contributing to the literature of our time. Who knows? Maybe someday something I write will be included in an anthology of American literature of the 21st century!

What is the most challenging experience you’ve ever had writing?

I guess you would call it writer’s block. I have a book that I have been working on for two years, and I still can’t get a hold of it. I write two or three pages, sometimes more, and wind up discarding it.

What would you recommend to new writer?

I’m going to steal the advice I have heard from so many others, so many times. Just do it. If you want to write, then sit down at the computer or with a blank pad of paper and put words on the page. You can never finish if you don’t start.

How would you describe your personal creative process?

I enjoy doing lots of research, even though it isn’t always necessary for what I am writing. I have found that the world is truly an amazing place, and that almost anything I can make up, there is something even more incredible happening in reality. That is the great thing about fantasy. There is no need to stop writing because your story has become too hard to believe. Reality can be even harder to believe.

When is the best time for you to write?

Saturday mornings after my husband has gone to work is my prime writing time. I enjoy having coffee in a cup without a lid, and I sit at the computer for hours completely immersed in whatever story I am working on. My sons are grown and in college, so my house is a very quiet place on the weekends.

What kinds of things inspire you in your writing?

I am inspired by the amazing things I see in the world all around me. It is incredible to see what people can do, whether on a big scale like art and architecture, or on a smaller scale like cross-stitch or knitting. I also get the writing bug when I read something so beautifully written that it moves me deeply, either viscerally or spiritually.

Do you have any other books or other writing you’d like to talk about?

I’ve written another book called Soul Lost that I self-published for Amazon Kindle. It is a romantic time-travel fantasy about King Alfred of England and the mysterious woman who was his wife. I’m also on my seventh edit of a book about a great, ancient civilization that is discovered buried here in Forsyth County, Georgia. Its tentative title is People of the Green Hills.

I find that I write mostly about women who discover that there is so much more to them than they think, whether because she finds out she was supposed to be a princess, or because she is able to complete a difficult quest, or because she is the one person who believes in a cause and can make sure it happens. I write fantasy because that is what I love, but there is a truth that transcends the fantastic elements. People are so much more than they think they are. Put us in extraordinary circumstances, and we will find out how exactly extraordinary we are.

November 11, 2015

Author Josi S. Kilpack

I just saw a link on Facebook  about Author Josi Kilpack’s upcoming event in Coalville, Utah, and I had to share. I don’t know Josi Kilpack well at all–I’ve only met her once, but I was impressed by her fun and open personality. I hope she gets a good turnout at this event. If you know anyone in the area, please share!

 

November 9, 2015

Composer J. Ryan Moat’s inspiring music

J. Ryan Moat, composer and all around extraordinary person

J. Ryan Moat, composer and all around extraordinary person

     I’ve known Ryan Moat for decades. I’ve always thought he was an inspiring person, but my respect for him skyrocketed recently, when I learned his talents include composing.
     The music Ryan Moat writes is breath-taking (see here, and here). His music is available on Amazon.com, too. I’m seriously thinking of book trailers now because of this man’s music.
     He agreed to be interviewed on my blog. I’m happy to be able to share some of what he does here, especially for my writer friends who love working with great music in the background.

The interview:

     What is it you find most inspiring about writing music?
     I find it inspiring that through writing music, it can take you to other places, to other worlds, or can reach into the listener’s soul, striking a chord within, so to speak. With music, it can help you relax, focus, bring back memories, and take you on a journey. I write it for this purpose for others to enjoy, since music is a sort of universal language. It speaks to others no matter what language they speak.
     What kinds of music do you most like writing?
     I really enjoy writing in the style of film score, television, and movie trailer (cinematic) music. It wasn’t always this way, but soundtracks are actually my favorite types of music to listen to, and it kind of led to film scoring. When I started composing, I was still a student at Utah Valley University, but had gotten a great student deal on some producer software. The software was mainly for techno and dance, which I enjoyed, but it ultimately led me into my so called genre of film scoring. Although most of my music could be considered the film score genre, I do really like composing Celtic, and other world music. 
     What kinds of experiences give you ideas for your music and fuel your muse?
There are a few different types of of experiences that give me ideas for music. The first is traveling. I love other cultures, and I love traveling the world. Not only are each individual cultures different from each other, but they also have their own individual styles of dance, or traditional music. I like a lot of the traditional music around the world, and traveling has helped me experience this as well. My first music album, La Belle Vie, which means “A Beautiful Life” in French, was based off of my experiences traveling through Europe, specifically some while exploring amazing buildings such as a Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Many of the choirs and ambient sounds I heard within those cathedrals or great halls in palaces influenced me to write an album on that Europe trip.
     A second experience is going to the movie theaters themselves. I love sitting in a theater, IMAX, Dolby Atmos, or any great sounding theaters and being immersed in the music. What would a movie be without music? It adds such an amazing affect. Sometimes sitting in the theater, a soundtrack can just give you chills. I hear the music from the popular composers and think, “That’s EXACTLY what I want to do”! Often I go home after a movie inspired to write a little bit better, to compose epic music just the same. Often I think, “I can write music just like that”, or, “I want to learn to write music like that”.
     Another experience that gives me ideas for my music is the way I feel. We all have those days that don’t go quite right, and we also have those days where we feel on top of the world. I find that it’s so easy to write music when you put your whole soul into it.
     How long have you been writing music?
     I started dabbling a little with techno music back in 2004 to 2005, and started again in around 2009. I was acting in between 2006 and 2009, so I set the music aside, especially since techno wasn’t what I really wanted to compose. It wasn’t until the acting and entertainment industry got hit really hard in 2009 that I started to get back into music. In 2010 I had started saving enough money to slowly move to Hollywood quality sound libraries, and had moved to industry standard composing software. Since 2010 I have been composing many tracks yearly.
     What were some of your first music experiences? How do they play into your successes now?
     I never had much music experience growing up. But there were three things I loved, the first was our family record player. I’d listen to that for hours, and I’m pretty sure I’m the one who wore the record player out. The next was my sister’s 40-key piano with music presets for bossa nova, polka, and other styles that come built in. My parents also had a guitar, and I’d strum it and make up lyrics. Whenever I would go to either of my grandparent’s homes, I’d sit down and play their upright pianos. I didn’t know how to read music, I’d just create my own songs on the piano, or learn the keys to common songs.
     As I grew older, every chance I got to play on a keyboard or piano, I’d just play. At my first year of college I decided I’d go learn how to read and play music on my own, and went to a building every night after classes to learn a song. A couple years later, I took a semester piano class from Utah Valley University, as well as took a group voice class. From there, it just sort of led me into music composing, and I compose mostly everything using a piano which goes directly into my computer, a digital audio workstation (DAW), similar to what famous movie composers such as Hans Zimmer have.
     How do you find time for writing music?
     Often there are times that I go weeks without sitting down at the piano. However, playing the piano and/or composing music is really a stress relief. It often lets me take what’s going on in my life and translate it into music form. When I really just need to do something that makes me happy, I’ll sit down and play, and it always seems to do the trick. Often I’ll have ideas pop in my head, and I’ll quickly write a little bit and save it, so that when I get more time on the weekend, I can return and just go with the flow.
     Do I understand correctly that you’re also into acting and modeling? What can you tell me about this?
     I was really into acting, and only did one or two modeling gigs. In the modeling industry in Utah, the requirement is normally 6’0″ for men, and I am not that tall. I did get the opportunity to walk on the runway in a tuxedo, which was quite fun. That was the only modeling gig I did, until this year when a friend asked me to come model for Porsche Design, a subsidiary of Porsche AG the German automobile manufacturer.
     Backing up to 2004, I wanted to try something different, and had heard that Utah had many talent agencies. Little did I know, Utah was in the top states for acting in the entertainment industry. In 2006 I decided to sign with an extra acting and modeling agency in Salt Lake. Right off the bat, they had me calling a production company which was over The Warner Brother’s Everwood TV show starring Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Galaxy of the Guardians) and John Beasley (CSI, CSI: Miami, Sum of All Fears), and I was off acting in my first episode on Everwood. It was perfect timing, because it was the last season of Everwood. I had no idea who I was acting with either, and had scenes walking by Chris Pratt and John Beasley having a conversation in their characters for the TV show.
     I went on to be a featured extra in a couple movies, and even got a couple lead roles, including a lead role as an elf from a book series by Anna Del C. Dye entitled, “The Elf and The Princess”. I loved my time acting, and I acted from 2006 to 2009.
     I switched to a new agent in 2009, and got professional training, but then the industry had a rough patch in late 2009 and my agent had to close his doors. I was left without an agent, and with my day job keeping me busy, I switched back to composing because I could compose any time I wanted. With acting I needed to be able to drop whatever I was doing when a call came in. While I was acting, Cosmopolitan magazine contacted my agent after they scouted me out on the agency website, and asked me to apply for the Cosmopolitan Bachelor of the Year contest. I thought that was pretty cool.
     What kinds of writing do you like best? Do you ever gain inspiration from books?
I love a lot of fantasy writing. In the range of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit (J.R.R Tolkien), elvish stories, and books such as The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan), Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind), Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson). When I find time to read, I enjoy most fantasy novels.
     I do gain inspiration from books, especially when they paint a vivid picture. Even a picture helps gain inspiration for writing music.
     I do like a good thriller or mystery as well. They make great ideas for writing music too!
     I know we’ve talked a little about the possibility of doing book trailers. Is this something you’d be interested in doing for other authors? If so, what could you offer them, and what would you charge?
     Yeah, I’d definitely be interested in doing book trailers. I have the tools to write nearly any genre style, and I’d work with the author to get a general feel for what they wanted, and then work together on creating a sound they thought would work.
     As for charging, I’m more concerned about creating something they would want, and something that they are happy with, and to work out with them what they feel is fair. Even if that means there is no budget, I would still enjoy writing it for them, because I am more interested in getting experience than I am money.
     What kinds of things do you hope for or plan for in the future regarding your music?
     I really just want to create music that people will enjoy. One day, I’d love to walk into a theater and hear my music playing on a film, or on a trailer. But if not, I still get the satisfaction of writing my own music while streaming and sharing it to the world.
November 4, 2015

Kevin L. Nielsen, author of Sands and Resurgent Shadows

I had the privilege of meeting author Kevin L. Nielsen about six weeks ago. By then I had already heard of his first book, Sands, which was released in July. (As of today, Sands has 83 reviews on Goodreads and is #4 in the Amazon paid store in the myths and legends category for teens and young adults.)

My first impression: Kevin L. Nielsen is the kind of person you want to meet no matter what the situation is. It’s easy to celebrate successes with people who are as kind and fun as he is.

I’m delighted to be able to feature him in a question-and-answer format. It’s the first big post I’ve published in a long while, which makes it all the more fun.

Here it is:

Please describe the fun successes you’ve had with your first novel, Sands.

I’ve had a lot of fun with my first novel, Sands.  It is a fun novel with lots of twists.  I’ve been able to be on panels at Salt Lake Comic Con, had my own solo signing at the King’s English Bookshop, and even been on TV.  It has been pretty amazing.

When did you first start writing Sands, and how long did it take you to finish?

I started writing Sands in February 2014. It took me about 95 days to finish the first draft.  From there I did a couple more drafts over the next few months before ending up meeting Helena Steinecker from Future House Publishing at the LTUE convention in February 2015.

I understand you have another book coming out soon. What is it, and what would you like to share about it?

I’m very excited about this book.  It’s called Resurgent Shadows and it is essentially the story of how the fantasy world and the modern world came together in cataclysmic events that rendered electricity useless.  Dragons fill the skies and creatures some call goblins and trolls travel in massive hordes.  The race of man is on the brink of extinction.

It comes out on the 12th, so stay tuned for additional information – for the most up to date news, sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/buUhMT– you’ll get updates on all my book releases.

Who is your publisher, and what makes them great to work with?

Future House Publishing is my publisher.  They are great to work with because they have a great team that truly treats you like family.  They are a small, local pressed based here in Utah, but they’ve got a great presence and the potential to become one of the stronger presses here in Utah.  They also do great covers.

What do you do to find time to write?

Mostly, I just stay up really late and get little sleep.  I find time to write during the small moments each day, early in the mornings or even during my lunch breaks at work.  You just have to learn to monopolize on the small moments you have each day.  It also helps to have a super supportive wife who will watch the kids when I need extra writing time.

What is your favorite writing experience so far?

Outside of just publishing my first novel in general, my favorite writing experience so far is tied between meeting Jason Lyle Black, a musician I have admired for years, who wrote several songs based off my novel and being able to be a panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con.  Those were both great and amazing experiences.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I realized I wanted to be an author when my reading ability surpassed the library’s capacity to supply books.  This happened when I was in the 6thgrade at Patterson Elementary in Gilbert, Arizona.  I’ve been writing ever since.

What plans do you have for the future?

I have a lot of plans for the future.  The sequel to Sands, called Storms, will be out in December or January.  The Sands series will have five total books and Resurgent Shadows is book one of the Successive Harmony Series.  That will be four books (for now).  I’ve also got several other novels I’m working on at any given time.  For a complete breakdown of my current projects visit my current projects page on my website at the following link:http://kevinlnielsen.com/current-writing-projects/

I hope to be able to review some of Kevin L. Nielsen‘s work here in the future, and also to follow up with some of the great things he’s doing. He is one author to watch.

Kevin Nielsen, author of Sands and Resurgent Shadows

Kevin L. Nielsen, author of Sands and the soon-to-be-released Resurgent Shadows

 

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