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Interview with Thriller, Horror & Paranormal Author Jason LaVelle

Jason LaVelle

Jason LaVelle is an author and photographer from West Michigan. When he’s not spending time with his beautiful wife and four children, LaVelle works at a veterinary clinic, helping animals of all kinds. With his two pugs, Dragon and Mr. Sparkles, his Chihuahua, Mari, and his annoying dachshund, Lady, LaVelle pretty much lives in a zoo. After he’s done playing with the pugs and tucking the kids into bed, LaVelle ventures down into the basement, where his umbrella cockatoo, Bella whispers in his ear like a demonic muse, forcing him to explore the paranormal world inside his mind.

Read to the end and receive a free copy of one of Jason’s eerie novellas!

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?

As a child, I was terribly depressed. Unhappy with my life, my family, my world, I used books as an escape, a true escape—from everything. I fell in love with fantasy, with westerns, with anything that took me as far from reality as possible. I believe I was in fifth grade when I wrote my first story called Frog 5, a silly story about a five-person team of supernatural adventurers. My classmates seemed immediately intrigued, and I remember even my teachers thinking that the story was compelling and entertaining. As I entered high school, I began writing terrible poetry, and sadly, that continued for several years. Then I went to school, and went to work, and started a family. I didn’t pick up writing again until I was in my late twenties/early thirties when I began to compose my first novel, The Cold Room. I didn’t have any formal training, apart from a few college creative writing courses. I wanted to write a story that I would enjoy reading, a mix of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Michael Crichton. I’ve had a lot of great feedback from my first novel, a lot of praise that really melts my heart, and I think it was that praise and encouragement that urged me to write another.

Can you tell us a little about what kind of book(s) you’ve written so far?

My books are thrillers. They all have a fast-moving plot that focuses on real, well-rounded characters as well as a story arc that ensures readers will want to turn the pages quickly. While I consider all of my stories thrillers, I would also add that The Cold Room and The Dark Of Night are supernatural horror as well. Delia is a love story gone terribly wrong about a badass woman, a vengeful lover, and ultimately redemption. Pathosis and Ecocide are apocalyptic adventures that follow a teenage girl as she navigates through a world that is collapsing around her, think of The Walking Dead meets The Hot Zone.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them? Would you ever write anything other than your genre?

My publisher is in charge of what I write at the moment. I will be producing five, action suspense thrillers for this publisher, all of which I hope to release in the next two years. Outside of that contract, I hope to produce a collection of short fiction that will range from literary fiction and drama, to all-out science fiction adventure. I honestly love writing in all genres, it’s fun to let the ‘muse’ just run off with my thoughts sometimes. I have written straight-up horror and also erotic romance. However, I have to be responsible and accountable to my readers and be sure to give them the kind of fiction I know they love to read from me.

You have five novels available now. Congrats! 

Can you tell us about your path to publication?

I wrote my first novel with no real plans to publish. I was too intimidated by the publishing market and up until then, self-publishing had been something only vanity presses did. A good friend who turned out to be an indie author urged me and guided me through the self-publication process and I was very happy with the results. My first novel has sold more than ten thousand copies and continues to sell more every day. I didn’t begin looking for a traditional publisher until 2017, and I secured one with relative ease. After an initial query, the publisher responded, told me the book was shit, but if I was willing to go through a brutal editing process he may consider it. Well, after crying in my Eggos for a week, I hired a hard-ass editor and got the job done. The publisher accepted the manuscript and gave me a five-book deal.

What are some of your go-to genres when reading and who are some of your favorite authors? What is it you love about those genres?

The list is long, but my all-time favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Piers Anthony, Dean Koontz, Richard Preston, John Grisham, Clive Cussler. Later on, I learned new favorites: Victoria Schwab, Pierce Brown, Andy Weir, James Rollins, David Baldacci. These authors write in many different genres, but they write them well. They have the ability to take me off the page and completely immerse me in their worlds, which is something I have craved since I was young—that escape.

Are you a pantser, a plotter or somewhere in between?

I am a thinker and a pantser. I will spend days or weeks thinking about a scene, then sit down and hammer it out. However, I may spend a year or more researching a particular subject, epidemiology for example, so that I can write about it so convincingly that even specialists in that field would be able to enjoy the book. I love the idea of being able to plot a novel, but I also think plotting takes away the fun of writing for discovery, which is not only when my best writing happens, but when I’m having the most fun at it.

When you first get an idea, how long until you know you’re ready to begin writing and what does that progression look like?

This can sometimes be minutes or months. I don’t have a process for this. If an idea hits me that is so full and ripe with promise, I will try to start writing it immediately, that very day. Other times I will make a note of a cool idea for a story or scene and keep it in my files and go back to it when I’m stuck on a project or looking for the next book to write.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

Oh wow, well, that’s a little funny. I work as a vet tech during the week, and on my days off I try to write. However, I have four kids and about a dozen animals, so even my time off is busy. I like to sit down and write at least a thousand words at a time, then I’ll go back to thinking about the story and carrying on with life. On a really good day I can get a dozen pages written, but if things are crazy here at home, I’m lucky to get in a page or two.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

Holy cow, grow a thick skin! No matter how good you are, no matter how long you’ve been writing, the trolls are out there, and they want blood. People will say terrible things to you online, in your reviews, in your ratings. Let that shit go, in fact, don’t even look at your reviews, not yet. Check your ratings every few months, but not more often than that. It’s easy to get lost and upset when you see a bad review come in, and it can take weeks to emotionally recover from it, so until you’ve gotten yourself calloused up, stay away from them.

It is such a crazy and competitive market. How do you tackle the marketing and promotion of your books?

I don’t, haha! I’m a terrible marketer. I try to connect with and chat with potential readers as much as possible on social media, but as far as marketing goes, I will leave that to my publisher. They will be able to guide me and teach me what methods will work best for my market.

How do you feel about Amazon exclusive versus going wide?

I’m not a fan of anything exclusive. It’s a play by Amazon to own everything, and while their exclusivity offers some minor benefits for running specific promotions, they still cut out a full third of the reader market. There are many people to be reached on iBooks, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, and it would be silly to ignore them.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing? What about the process of trying to get published?

Write for love, not for money. Only a select few of us millions of authors will ever make a living wage from writing. Focus on your craft, learn the words, listen to your editors. Make your goal to share the stories you’ve created with as many people as you can, and make those stories the best they can be. Read as much as possible, then pick up and read more. As one of my writing heroes, Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.”

AMEN. 

Jason is so generous that he is offering a free copy of his novella, Lot 187, just by clicking the link below.

https://www.instafreebie.com/free/q4gmv

Thank you so much, Jason! Where can people find out more about you and your books?

Come hang out with me on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Jason-LaVelle/e/B00GW3IG3W/

 

A little note…

Hey everyone!

Well, 2017 was a bizarre and stressful year for most of us. I had to put a good portion of my writing on hold while I went back to take a few courses. Happily, it’s nearly over (for now) and I am jumping headfirst into my novels, primarily the YA witches urban fantasy series that I was working on over a year ago. I’m so excited to be with all the characters again and I think you’re going to have so much fun when you explore the world.

It still has the creepy, dark, edge of your seat feeling and maybe a body or two. This is why my motto is Murder, Magic, Mayhem.

I am happy to announce that I am also going to be doing more author interviews as I personally find them fascinating. Let me know if there is anyone you’d like to see featured or if you are a writer, let me know if you’d like to be interviewed.

Happy New Year! May 2018 kick ass!

Love,

Kelly

Interview with Canadian Crime Fiction Writer Sam Wiebe

Crime Fiction Author Sam Wiebe

Sam Wiebe is the author of the Vancouver crime novels Cut You Down, Invisible Dead, and Last of the Independents. Wiebe’s work has won an Arthur Ellis award and the Kobo Emerging Writers Prize and been shortlisted for the Shamus Award and the City of Vancouver Book Award. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Spinetingler, and subTerrain, and he was the 2016 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence. Visit samwiebe.com or follow at @sam_wiebe

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?

I always wanted to write, but I didn’t get serious until the end of college when I realized it was either write a novel or put that dream on hold. I stole time on the bus and in library carrels, and late at night.

Can you tell us a little about what kind of book(s) you’ve written so far?

I write crime novels set in Vancouver. My latest, CUT YOU DOWN, is about the search for a missing student who disappeared in the wake of a college scandal with a quarter of a million dollars.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them? Would you ever write anything other than your genre?

Crime fiction is the genre I write in, for that fact that it’s both the most entertaining, and the most engaged with contemporary issues. Detective novels are ultimately about work, which fascinates me.

Can you tell us about your path to publication?

I started with short stories and got a couple published while working on my first novel, Last of the Independents. I entered that in an unpublished manuscript competition sponsored by Dundurn Press, and they liked it enough to want to publish it. In the meantime, I wrote a second novel, Invisible Dead, and submitted it to agents.

What are some of your go-to genres when reading and who are some of your favorite authors? What is it you love about those genres?

There are a lot of great writers in the crime fiction genre. Tana French and Peter Temple are two contemporary writers I admire. And I really like the classics, like Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer series.

Are you a pantser, a plotter or somewhere in between?

Somewhere in between. It depends on the project.

When you first get an idea, how long until you know you’re ready to begin writing and what does that progression look like?

It depends. Sometimes it’s a very quick process, and other times it takes years for connections to form and an idea becomes compelling enough to become a novel.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

I write when my girlfriend goes to work. I used to write by hand, on notepads, but for my latest project, I’m doing the first draft on a computer.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

You’re not in competition with other writers—their successes, their advances, take nothing away from your own. There’s enough space for everyone.

I know it’s cliché, but you have to write what you love to read. Nothing is worse than genre pandering. And since you can’t predict the whims of the market, it’s best to go in with something you feel strongly about.

It is such a crazy and competitive market. How do you tackle the marketing and promotion of your books?

I’m on Facebook (facebook.com/wiebesam) and Twitter (@sam_wiebe), and I have a website which I update regularly, samwiebe.com. A lot of marketing is off-putting to me, and I have to remind myself that it’s about the book—the book deserves to find an audience, and I’m duty bound to help that any way I can. If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t have written it in the first place.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing? What about the process of trying to get published?

Be genuine, and look for people who believe in the work. I’ve been very fortunate in that regard.

Anything else you would like to add or talk about?

CUT YOU DOWN comes out February 13th, 2018, from Random House Canada and Quercus USA.

Thank you so much! Where can people find out more about you and your books?

Website: samwiebe.com       Online at: @sam_wiebe         Facebook.com/wiebesam

Interview with YA & NA Urban Fantasy Author A.L. Knorr

A.L. Knorr is a Canadian who lives in Italy, which she finds quite inspiring. When she’s not writing or plotting her next story, she loves to mountain bike, hike, do yoga, read, and visit the historic sites of Italy and abroad. She also frequently butchers the beautiful Italian language. Her first completed novel is Born of Water, published in 2016. She followed it up with the companion novella Returning. The sequel, Born of Fire, is now available, and she is currently working on the third and fourth books in the series Born of Earth and Born of Æther coming in 2017.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?

I have wanted to be an author since I was a preteen. I was a total bookworm as a kid. My mom taught me to read when I was 3 and since then, books have been my favourite form of entertainment. My career path went towards marketing and I wrote as a hobby, but I knew how difficult it was to try and get published traditionally, and how poorly it paid unless you were a megastar, so I never pursued it. It wasn’t until January of 2016 that I stumbled into indie publishing forums and learned just how much the publishing industry changed. As a marketing expert with an entrepreneurial drive, I looked at indie publishing as the perfect solution for me. It’s not easy, but I love having control over what I write, how my covers look, my launch calendar, my marketing tactics, everything. I started writing my first novel in January and launched it on December 1.

Can you tell us a little about what kind of book(s) you’ve written so far?

I write YA & NA Urban Fantasy, so far always first person, always female main characters, and always centered around a life-changing supernatural experience. I don’t have huge casts or overly complex plots. I love to include a bit of romance, and a lot of self-examination as the character goes through their transformation. My stories are intimate, inside-the-brain-and-heart narratives. I want the reader to be IN the main characters shoes and feeling what they feel.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?

YA and NA Urban Fantasy. I really love fantastical stories, any and all kinds, but this early in my career I didn’t feel I had the chops to take on an Epic Fantasy series and full on world building. I love Urban Fantasy because it’s rooted in our current reality and just asks questions like What if mermaids really did exist? What would they be like? I also love writing origin stories, of both good and bad characters (although none of my characters are all good or all bad, they all have both) and laying out how and why characters comes to be the way they are.

Buy BORN OF WATER

You have a novella and a full length novel available now. Can you tell us about your path to publication?

I chose intentionally not to pursue traditional publishing. It can take years to get something published that way, and while I have nothing against this path, I really wanted to try building my author brand on my own. With my experience in marketing and brand building, it was the obvious choice. I think that I will be a lot more interesting to a traditional publisher down the road when I’ve proven that I know how to build an audience, write a compelling story, and market my work. Getting trad published is not my goal though, my goal is simply to thrill readers and to make enough that I can do it full time.

What are some of your go to genres when reading and who are some of your favorite authors? What is it you love about those genres?

My favourite authors include Stephen King (even though I don’t like Horror, King is such a master of words that I think every author should read him), JK Rowling (need I explain?), Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat is brilliant), Ken Follett (his Historical Fiction), JRR Tolkien, Kelley Armstrong, Suzanne Collins, Stieg Larsson (the Dragon Tattoo series had me by the neck the whole time), Arthur Golden, Bill Bryson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (huge fan of Sherlock Holmes), Chuck Wendig (for his humour), Veronica Roth, and Frank McCourt. A real mixed bag! For me, it’s important to read widely and outside my own genre, that’s the best way to improve my own writing. I really love dystopian stories and want to take a crack at my own dystopian series maybe later this year.

Are you a pantser, a plotter or somewhere in between?

A plotter for sure. I’d get so lost if I didn’t plan out my stories, and sometimes I get lost even when I have planned the whole thing out. I’m experimenting with different ways to outline as I haven’t found the perfect way yet, but I am quickly learning to err on the side of over-planning.

When you first get an idea, how long until you know you’re ready to begin writing and what does that progression look like? An idea usually comes to me first in scene form, sometimes it’s a big climactic event, other times its just a cool concept or hook – whether or not its strong enough to hang a story on becomes clear over a few days of musing, usually late at night in bed. Ideas come and go but the ones that keep coming back to me are the ones I pursue. If it just won’t go away then I start to outline it and ask more questions about the main character – who are they, what do they want, what’s stopping them from getting it, why would anyone care whether they got it or not, how are they flawed? Usually, once I start fleshing out a character, the story starts to unfold. Once I have a full outline I’m happy with, then I start writing and go chapter by chapter, but not in order, sometimes I start at the end or in the middle, whichever scenes feel the most urgent to get out.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

I try to get my writing done in the morning when I’m freshest. On my best days, I write for 4-5 hours and have topped out at 13,000 words. On my worst days I can be found laying facedown in my laptop with only a (poorly written) sentence on the screen. My afternoons are for business stuff, email, marketing, and other activities related to running a publishing business.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

Outlining was the biggest lesson of this year, and to always start with the end in mind. If you don’t know your climax then you won’t know how to get there. I’ve also learned that imagery is a very powerful tool and can hook a reader into the story better than simple adjectives, nouns, and verbs. I try to inject images into my writing that give the reader a sensory experience. Also, that my first draft will always be terrible and that’s just the way it is. The old saying that writing is re-writing is totally true. Reaching out for help is another valuable lesson. The author community is full of wonderful people from all walks of life and experience levels, and many of them are so willing to help another author. If you’re in trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Odds are, someday you’ll be able to return the favour.

It is such a crazy and competitive market. How do you tackle the marketing and promotion of your books? I always start by clarifying my objectives. You only have so many hours in a day and so much money to market with (or none at all). What is the desired outcome? Sales? Downloads? Fans on Facebook? Subscribers to your mailing list? Reviews? Focus on one and once you have your objective nailed, then brainstorm tactics for how to achieve that objective. Write down everything you can think of. Do some research. Ask other authors what has worked for them. Understand that readers of different genres behave differently. Choose the tactics that make sense to you and be sure to track the results as best you can, otherwise you have wasted your energy. Track. Learn. Discard the tactics that don’t work and do more of the ones that do. Repeat.

How do you feel about Amazon exclusive versus going wide?

I think that for a brand new author, KU is a great solution. People can read your books without paying for them, and yet you still get paid. That’s pretty brilliant for an unknown writer. I think once you’ve a readership built up and have a following of loyal and hungry readers, then consider going wide. I am nowhere near that myself so I can’t speak to how best to transition, but I would think it would need to be well thought through and partnerships would have to be built with the other platforms.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing? What about the process of trying to get published?

For writers, I would say read a lot, always be reading something. When my creative tank starts to feel empty, I know I haven’t been reading enough. Do other things to fill your creative tank too, travel, movies, museums, art galleries, whatever inspires you. Be okay with sucking at first. King once said the first million words you write are just practice. So just start writing, don’t censor yourself or edit as you go, that’s what rewriting is for. Whether you go indie or pursue a trad publishing contract depends on your goals. Do you just want to write and leave the marketing stuff to others, then maybe consider querying for an agent. If you have a knack for marketing and brand building and don’t mind splitting your time (and your brain) then consider indie.

Check out A.L.’s novella, THE RETURNING, part of the Elemental Origin’s series (It’s free on her Website:  www.alknorrbooks.com )Anything else you would like to add or talk about?

There is a lot of unrest in the publishing industry right now because of what Amazon and other digital retailers have done by opening up publishing to anyone. I read an article on Huff Post this morning that condemned indie authors of corrupting the written word. If you’re indie, or thinking of going indie, ignore this kind of rhetoric. Readers are the ones who get to decide. No one else.

Thank you so much A.L.! Where can people find out more about you and your books?

Thank you, too! Haha! I’m everywhere!

https://www.facebook.com/alknorrbooks/

https://twitter.com/ALKnorrBooks

https://www.pinterest.com/ALKnorrBooks/

https://www.instagram.com/alknorrbooks/?hl=en

 

Colorado Criminal Prosecutor Linda E. Stanley Available for Consultation!

A little bit about Linda…

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Linda pursued her career path as a police officer and obtained great success while being known to follow every lead to a logical conclusion while making sure rights were well-preserved in the endless pursuit of justice.

Linda had always wanted to attend law school, so when she was finally accepted to the prestigious University of Denver Sturm College of Law in the Fall of 2006 (that year alone, there were over 10,000 applications for 300 openings) she continued her work in the area of criminal justice with the opening of her own investigations firm. While in law school, she served as President of the Criminal Law Association which afforded her many opportunities to bring relevant topics and speakers to campus for further insight into areas often not taught in the law school curriculum, i.e. polygraphs and how they work, the science and art of blood spatter analysis, and gunshot residue: what it can and cannot reveal.

During this time, Linda was hired as an investigator for the criminal defense of an individual charged with the murder of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year’s Day of 2007. The case took many twists and turns throughout the next two years to which Linda remained vigilant to the very end while maintaining the highest standards of character and integrity in this high-profile case that took national attention.

After graduating from law school, Linda began her career as a prosecutor and as such has remained a leader in her community with a reputation for being tough but fair. Her relationship with police officers begins with a mutual respect that has also extended to criminal defense attorneys, probation and parole officers, correctional personnel, and judges. Her expertise in law and the criminal justice system spans well over 15 years affording her the vast amount of knowledge she is now willing to share with others.

Linda is offering her expertise and years of experience in a variety of ways. You can hire her for 1-1 consolation for any legal matters for your novel or to speak at a conference or specialty writing class or seminar. She has valuable insight and has personally been a tremendous help to me with the sequel to Pretty Wicked: WICKED FALLOUT (available spring 2017).

You can contact Linda to request a quote and discuss exactly how she can best help you at lindaestanley@gmail.com

I will definitely be using her in the future!

Take care everyone and thanks for taking the time to read 🙂

Kelly

Kindle Countdown For Pretty Wicked

Hello everyone!

Like suspense? Thrillers with a little horror mixed in? Follow 15-year-old Ryann Wilkanson as she stalks the people in her small town all the while deciding who will die next.

This is not your regular thriller. Ryann has studied all things murder including how to get away with it.

Will her detective father and his partner realize what’s right under their noses and will it be too late?

Delve inside the mind of a budding serial killer as she risks everything to become the greatest monster there has ever been.

Pretty Wicked (regularly 5.99) will be on promo on amazon.com the following days:

October 30 – 0.99
October 31 – 1.99
November 1 – 2.99
November 2 – 3.99

Take advantage of this deal while you can!

Pretty Wicked Printable 330 6x9

Purchase on AMAZON

Check out the reviews on GOODREADS

Thanks so much! Happy reading! 😉

~Kelly