An Interview with FSF Net Author, Lauren Lynne

Hello Everyone!  Today, I’m delighted to present my recent interview with the lovely and talented, Lauren Lynne, author of The Secret Watchers series!  Lauren and I happened to meet a few months ago through the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network.  During this time I’ve grown not only to respect her as a writer, but I’ve also come to think of her as a friend.  So, without further ado, here’s, Lauren…

 

Banner SW S2014

 

Lauren, it’s wonderful to have you as a guest on my blog!  Can you tell us a little about your latest book?  My latest book is Perceptions, the fourth book in The Secret Watchers series.  I am writing book five right now.  The protagonist is Owen Ryer.  The series begins when Owen is an average eighth grader until one day it all changes.  Owen has a special ability he never knew he had, but figuring out how to use it is the least of his problems.  By Perceptions Owen is a junior in high school, his grades are slipping, he’s having girlfriend problems and people are trying to kill him.  He is used by people who should be helping others and has to face the darkness he holds within.

Perceptions front cover

NOW AVAILABLE!

Sounds like a great read!  What inspired you to write this?  My day job unexpectedly took a sharp decline in hours and I was left feeling frustrated with lots of time on my hands so I just started writing like crazy.  It was a great way to turn all the angst around.   I have always enjoyed young adult books but as a teacher and parent I wanted to keep up with what my boys were reading so if they read it… I read it.  The exception was Twilight – they won’t touch it but a friend gave it to me.  I liked it and when I discovered that Breaking Dawn, part one, was out in theaters I thought I better get caught up.  I loved what they had done with Jacob in the films; he was my favorite in the books, so my idea for Owen kind of began with him.  I wanted a humble hero, who cared for others more than he should sometimes.

Was writing this book an enjoyable experience, or did you find it difficult at times?  I wrote book one, Visions, in about six weeks.  It has taken me longer to write the rest.  Visions began as a stand-alone but I quickly realized that Owen’s story could not be done in one book I stretched it into a five book series.  I had never published before so it took me a year after I began writing Visions to release it to the public.  There is so much to learn about the publishing business.  It makes every day an adventure.  Now I have to fight for my writing time.  I often have more ideas than I can get down.

Care to talk about your protagonist?  How did you dream him/her to life?  I touched on this briefly but Owen is an interesting guy.  He is a bit of my own boys who were thirteen and sixteen when I began writing.  Owen is also a mix of many of my favorite young adult heroes from literature.  I wanted a protagonist that young people could relate to and would genuinely like despite his faults.  It was also very important to me that he have problems like kiddos in the real world.

What projects are you currently working on?   I am madly writing book five, Destiny.  I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the characters I’ve come to love so in the future there will be other Secret Watchers books where some of my fans and my favorites will return in minor roles.  I have also started work in a new genre.  It’s a dystopian with a female protagonist.

Do you consider yourself to be a self-conscious writer?  Why or why not?  Interesting question.  I started out that way and was afraid that people wouldn’t like me.  I thought that I was a failure if I didn’t get all five star reviews.  Now I know better.  Today I write for me and my fans and if someone is a hater, that’s their choice because the only person I can ever really hope to change is me.  So… it’s okay if someone doesn’t like my books because there are plenty of other folks who do and they are the ones I really care about.

As a writer, are you a fan of the close-up view, like exploring a microcosm, a subculture?  Or do you prefer the wide shot—looking at an entire cosm, culture?   Strangely, I would have to say both.  To date, the books I have published have been from the protagonist’s perspective but you can experience the world around him from his point of view.  His life’s experiences skew his view but you can still experience his culture, class, ethnicity, etc.

What kind of environment do you write in?  A noisy café, a quiet library, at your kitchen table?  I do my best writing at the computer in my home office.  Don’t let that fool you – as a busy mom holding down two jobs and trying to write, I take a journal wherever I go.  In other words you can find me writing almost anywhere including, as a passenger in a car.  I just have to be careful because I get really motion sick.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?  How old were you?  I have almost always been a writer; I just didn’t recognize myself as one.  When I was in about fourth grade, I started a mystery version based around the filming of The Wizard of Oz.  My grandfather was part of the sound department at MGM and worked on the film so I’ve always had a special place in my heart for it.  I also read a book called Murder on the Yellow Brick Road by Stuart M. Kaminsky which also made me want to write something during the time of the filming.

Is there a difference between Lauren the writer and Lauren the person?   Nope.  That’s it… nope.  What you see is what you get!

What about Lauren the person versus Lauren the public figure?  Is there a difference there I try really hard to be the same person no matter what.  I try really hard to stay positive and encourage others.  It’s too much work for me to try to be a bunch of people.  It’s enough work just to be me.

What other writing have you done?  I have written curriculum for grades 4-12 and for adult learners.  Let me tell you… fiction is LOTS more fun.

What is the best and worst part of the writing process for you?  I love the writing so much.  Going over my work with my editing team is okay.  I love them dearly but the writing itself is magical.  I also love bouncing ideas off my kids, their friends and my students.  I want to make sure that Owen and my other teen characters have the right voice.

Do you plot your novels (or plan your books) ahead of time, or do they unfold as you write them?  Both!  Visions began with very little planning; I just let it flow.  Once I was past the first book I couldn’t do it without the big picture.  I even put notes to myself highlighted within my writing so that I don’t lose track of time.

How do you go about creating dialogue?  I write from my characters head.  I imagine what they would say to another character.  When one of my boys or their friends says something I really like, I ask if I can use it and then I weave it in.  “Don’t flip a biscuit” is a phrase that my younger son used on me one day when he thought I was overreacting, so I had to reuse that.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters or do any of them have traits you wish you had?  I wish I was as brave as Owen and Lucie are.  I wish I was as smart as Marlo.  The characters that I am most like are Owen’s mom Lila and his friend Sarah.  Sarah was originally crafted after a dear friend of mine who was a grandma and Boy Scout volunteer while I was working with the Scouts for my own boys.  She had such a wonderful way of looking at the world.  I asked her if I could use her and she said yes.  Now Sarah is more like me because my model has moved to the coast and we don’t see each other as often.  The story also changed and I needed to make her a little younger than we had first intended.

Do you believe writers are born…or made?  I believe the best ones are born but I would never count out someone who wanted it so badly that they were willing to really work for it.  Right now, my writing isn’t work – it is my passion.  Life makes us who we are but we still somehow come into it with preferences.  I don’t think you can force writing to make you happy.

What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?  I am reading Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s The Heist and I am rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.  Why such fluffy stuff?  One, I love it and two, it gives me a break from heavy stuff like Learning in Adulthood and Learning and Change in the Adult Years.

Do you have any advice for those toying with the idea of becoming a novelist/writer?  Keep your day job but heck yeah, give it a go!  You may find you love it.  At least get that story down – it’s good therapy!

How many hours a week do you work these days?  At which job?  Ha!  It is all over the map.  I am a substitute teacher and I work for an organization that helps improve out-of-school time education.   Around my teaching of students and training of adults who work with students, I write.  Between them all I probably put in around seventy hours a week.

It’s been suggested that as a group, writers tend to be elitists.  Do you agree with this assertion?  You find elitists in every group, not just among writers.  So yeah, there are some but I’m not one and I know you aren’t so there you go.  It’s not just the two of us either.  I have met some of the most wonderful, charitable, helpful and friendly people since I started writing that I can’t imagine my life without them.  We are team indie and we are what we make of it!

What is your view of brand management?  Is this a positive or negative aspect of an author’s work and is this something you’re personally comfortable with?  I feel like it is very important to maintain your brand, to stay true to who you are.  I try to keep my work and sites no more than NC-17.  I never write anything that would embarrass me if my parents, children or students read it.  I try to remain true to myself.  I’ve made some mistakes along the way but each day is a new chance to do better, right?

Is there anything you’d like to add before we conclude this interview?  Big hugs, Danica, and thank you so very much for having me.  Happy writing to you and to you and all your fans… follow your dreams, you never know where they may lead you.

The pleasure was all mine, Lauren.  Thanks for dropping by today!

 

Author, Lauren Lynne

Author Profile 4

Where to Visit Young Adult Author Lauren Lynne and The Secret Watchers Series:

You can visit Lauren at http://laurenlynneauthor.com/

Website http://thesecretwatchers.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheSecretWatchersSeries

Facebook http://facebook.com/LaurenLynneAuthor

Twitter http://Twitter.com/LaurenLynneYA

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5808133.Lauren_Lynne

Pinterest  http://www.pinterest.com/laurenlynneYA/

Add me to your circles http://plus.google.com/+LaurenLynne/about

Email laurenwrites@thesecretwatchers.com   

LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lauren-walker/4a/3/bb4

Tumblr http://authorlaurenlynne.tumblr.com/

Instagram http://instagram.com/laurenwritesya#

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtts8vMLY9fFREf8HRY6nbQ

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:    

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the President of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., who’s busily penning her forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more, please visit Danica’s website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

DARK STAR I The Assassins (2)

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Google +

About. Me

You Tube

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club and the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

FSF Net

Shining a Spotlight on RAVE REVIEWS’ “SPOTLIGHT” Chats

 

 

RRBCSpotlightChat2

 

Written by Danica Cornell

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, there’s a pretty good chance at least some of you are familiar with Rave Reviews Book Club’s (RRBC) “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  But, for those who don’t yet know about these chats or why they’re so beneficial for authors, then this post is for you.

“SPOTLIGHT” Chats, (also referred to as Twitter Chats, Twitterviews and Live Tweet Chats) are an exciting new program we’ve designed at RRBC as yet another way to Profile, Promote & Propel the careers of our indie author members!  Simply put, these chats are live Twitter interviews, (conducted by yours truly) which are designed to drive the conversation around the author’s brand – and they do so in a manner that’s both fun and effective!

Here’s How it Works

With “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, folks can join the conversation by directly tweeting their own questions to RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, using #RRBCSpotlightChat in each tweet.  Participants may also respond to other people’s tweets and even retweet throughout the chat.  As you might imagine, all this buzz helps to generate even more visibility for our “SPOTLIGHT” Authors, which has the potential of increasing their book sales and following!  Simply put, “SPOTLIGHT” Chats truly put the “social” back into social media marketing on Twitter, and they do so in a way that feels like chatting with friends!

The Buzz Before the Buzz

In order for RRBC to launch the best possible “SPOTLIGHT” Chat, there’s a bit of preparation that goes on behind the scenes.  For example, prior to a scheduled chat, RRBC’s Governing Board announces the event on our club’s social media accounts.  Of course we also appreciate the support of our members and friends in helping us spread the word, too.  As RRBC’s Marketing Director, I can tell you; this kind of coordinated effort really works!

Tuning in to Twubs for Twitterviews

Believe it or not, we’ve learned through experience that the best way to conduct a Twitterview, is to do so while using Twubs—a handy dandy social media marketing tool, if there ever was one.  Twubs provides a fast, free and easy way for folks to join in on RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  And as someone who’s had more than her fair share of tech issues, I can honestly say, there’s nothing complicated about Twubs—it’s completely intuitive and user friendly!

Why Use Twubs?  

Twubs takes care of the two issues most often seen in Twitter-conducted twitterviews: The time lag experienced between sent and received tweets, and the difficulty in following a conversation.  Anyone who’s ever tried to follow a live tweet chat on Twitter will undoubtedly appreciate how Twubs eliminates these issues altogether!

How to Get Your Very Own “SPOTLIGHT” Chat!

By now you may find yourself wondering, “How can I get in on all the excitement?”  Only RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB members are eligible to be interviewed in “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  Of course members and non-members alike are welcomed and encouraged to join in on these conversations.  After all, when it comes to “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, the more, the merrier!

***

For more information on, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, including how to become a member, please visit our website at: http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/join-here/ .

To join in during our “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, please go to our Twubs page at:  http://twubs.com/RRBCSpotlightChat.  (“SPOTLIGHT” Chats are announced ahead of time on RRBC’s social media accounts.)

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

 

CONNECT WITH RRBC:

Website

Twitter

Twubs

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Goodreads

You Tube

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

 Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the PR/Marketing Director for RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by COOL GEEK BOOKS.  To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Danica’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/danicacornell/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/danicacornell

Google +:   https://plus.google.com/+DanicaCornell/posts

About.Me:  http://about.me/danica_cornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

Two Perfect Summer Reads by Effrosyni Moschoudi

 

Free promo 7-11 aug 2014

 

Today, I’m pleased to present to you Greek author Effrosyni Moschoudi and her books.  As of this coming Thursday and for five days, they will be FREE on Amazon; seeing that they are perfect for a summer escape, you may not want to miss out on this opportunity!

 

WHO IS EFFROSYNI?

Fros messo1 test2 jpg

Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She has a BSc in Computer Science and has worked for large companies for twenty years, mainly in the hotel and airline business. She’s been writing since childhood and lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix.

Her debut novel, “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”, is a fantasy adventure of Greek myths and time travel that’s suitable for all ages. It’s been described as a “Rare Gem” by the Fantasy & Sci-fi Network and has reached Amazon’s #1 in Mythology and #2 in Fairy Tales. The novel also made the shortlist in 2014 for the “50 Best Self-Published Books Worth Reading” from Indie Author Land.

Effrosyni’s second novel, “The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb”, is an ABNA quarter-finalist. The book follows the lives and loves of two young girls who’ve never met but are connected in a mysterious way. It is the first part of a paranormal romance that’s set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. Effrosyni is currently penning the second part of the series (“The Flow”), which she plans to publish in 2015.

On her blog, Effrosyni presents the works of fellow indie authors with spotlights, interviews, and book reviews. She also posts her own content of various subjects, such as travel articles, inspiring personal accounts, tips for authors, and even some Greek recipes.

 

NECKLACE OF ATHENA533x800

IN ATHENS, THE GODS STILL DWELL AMONG THE MORTALS.

Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?

 

 Praise for the book:

(Excerpts from posted reviews on Amazon.com)

“Beautifully written – an enchanting read!”

“A sweet, nostalgic view of Athens.”

“You will be left wishing it had never ended.”

“Wisdom, eternal values, and ethos are at the heart of this book.”

“I didn’t want it to end – a remarkable achievement!”

“Gem after gem of wisdom that will touch your heart.”

“Each word is a picture! Each turn, a beautiful description of an Athenian site!”

“A tale that is woven with artistry, love, and great care easily becomes one of my favorites. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed!”

 

Find it now on Amazon:

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I5GXHCO

Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I5GXHCO

 

LADY OF PIER EBB old 533x800

LOVE WILL GO ON FOREVER, SEEKING A SECOND CHANCE.

 

BRIGHTON, 1937

Laura Mayfield leaves London with her mother Ruth in order to pursue a new life in Brighton. She finds employment at the West Pier Pavilion and soon falls in love with Christian Searle, one of the stagehands at the theatre. Laura aspires to a life of riches but this annoys and frightens the proud and insecure Christian, causing rows between them. When she is offered the chance to perform at the theatre, her love for Christian is put to the ultimate test. Charles Willard, a wealthy and arrogant aristocrat becomes fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly, causing Christian to become enraged. Will Laura’s desire for wealth throw her in the arms of Charles or will her feelings for Christian prevail?

 

CORFU, 1987

Sofia Aspioti, a Greek student from Athens, arrives in Corfu for her annual summer holidays at her grandparents’ house, relieved to escape her overprotective parents’ care for a while. She takes on a job at the local water sports pier and when Danny Markson, a larger-than-life British tourist flirts with her, she is initially worried that his advances will cause her trouble with her strict family. Yet, by the time she realises that she’s desperately in love, she finds she no longer cares. When Danny returns home to a village near Brighton, Sofia becomes haunted by a series of dreams about the West Pier and a woman dressed in black. As if cast by a spell, she takes to writing poems about a love that won’t let go. Who is the grieving woman in her dreams and how is her sorrow related to her own feelings for Danny?

 

Praise for the book:

(Excerpts from posted reviews on Amazon.com)

“Addictively mesmerizing”

“I defy you to put this book down after the first chapter”

“I got withdrawal symptoms when I ended it”

“The writer has an undisputed talent for creating vivid imagery”

“A fantastic read. This author has the ability to draw you into the story”

“If you enjoy romance, take heed: The Ebb makes a perfect summer read!”

“A heartfelt story drawing you in and not letting (you) go until the last page. Fantastic!”

“An inner glow, an inherent purity emanates from the pages to create a sense of completeness, like a dream you don’t want to wake up from.”

 

Find it now on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LGNYEPC

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LGNYEPC

 

CONNECT WITH EFFROSYNI: 

Blog: http://www.effrosinimoss.wordpress.com

FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/Necklaceathena

FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/ladyofpier

FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/effrosyni

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frostiemoss

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi

Google + : https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/effrosyni-moschoudi/82/347/a01

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/efrosinimoschou/

Book Trailer: (Necklace) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHJcVuAkRV4

Book Trailer: (Lady) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3LrIRBxNVM

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

DARK STAR I The Assassins (2)

IN 2045, DEEP WITHIN A TOP SECRET WORLD, LURKS A THREAT BEYOND COMPARE…

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

Instagram: http://instagram.com/danicacornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

The Superhero

By Danica Cornell

Here’s a question: What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time? Is it shooting pool? Going to a ball game? Writing? Those who know me best would probably tell you that learning is hands-down my all-time favorite pastime—with writing coming in a very close second.

Looking back, my thirst for knowledge started quite early. As such, I figured out that in order to avoid getting beaten up on the playground, I had best conceal my geek-like tendencies from the other kids. Thankfully, this plan worked out quite well—that is, until Christy came along.

Much to my chagrin, this mammoth-sized third grader saw right though me, promptly informing our classmates that I was in fact, The Teacher’s Pet. As you might imagine, it was at this point when I began to experience a long-held and long-feared universal kid-truth: There’s nothing quite like facing the stomach-churning glares of the less intellectually endowed, to make a Teacher’s Pet hand over her lunch—especially if those glares come from a girl who happens to be a lot meaner than you.

Not to mention, a lot bigger.

There’s no point in denying it. Christy’s acid tongue and sheer girth terrified me! And it was because of this fear that it took me an entire year before I decided I’d finally had enough. An entire year! That’s like a hundred lifetimes to a kid! Nevertheless, by the time I turned nine, I’d grown fed up with going unfed at lunch. I was determined to man-up and face my nemesis head-on.

And so it went. The exact time and location where my archenemy and I would face-off was set without debate or delay—along with a few ground rules: No biting, scratching, or hair-pulling. And above all else, neither of us could rat the other one out. Amazingly, in about half the time it took to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we’d gotten it all settled: In 24 hours, the colossal showdown would take place. (Now that I think about it, it’s a little ironic we weren’t able to resolve the lunch-issue in a similar manner!)

As it turned out, it didn’t take all that long for the tough-talking, lunch-stealing, Christy, to hobble away with more than a little blood gushing from her nose! I distinctly remember listening to her uncontrolled wailing in the distance and wondering why I’d allowed myself to endure an entire year of hunger-inducing harassment. As my new reality began to sink in, it occurred to me that in confronting the evil Christy, I had acted as bravely as any of my favorite comic book superheroes!

Minus the cape, of course.

What I didn’t realize is that when it comes to navigating through the fog of war, even the most accomplished of superheroes can eventually find themselves facing the consequences of being on the wrong end of a fist. My rapidly swelling and blackening eye was proof positive; I was no exception to this rule!

But from my perspective, none of that mattered. As far as I was concerned, my David vs. Goliath moment had been well worth a bit of physical discomfort. After all, tucked away in the far corner of the school’s playground, I had bravely stood up and fought for what I believed in. Cocooned within a sense of intention and purpose, I was now surrounded by a swarm of children—most of whom congratulated me and agreed Christy had had it coming for a good long while. It was a magical feeling. I was brimming with a newfound sense of hope and justice, basking in the glory of my hard-won elementary school kid status—

For all of about 15 seconds.

That’s when the teacher I’d nick named, Mrs. Piranha, appeared. Of all the adults in the school, it was she who could strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned of trouble makers. Parting the sea of kids with a level of efficiency I’ve not seen since, she grabbed me by the elbow in a way that suggested The End Was Near. Now parading me in front of God and everyone, The Piranha and I made our way across the playground and into the aging, brick building that housed The Principal’s Office.

Maybe being a Goliath-defeating superhero wasn’t so great after all…

In hindsight, the whole thing was really quite a spectacle, but it was probably the best outcome I could’ve ever hoped for. Sure, I got in trouble. But I’d also earned the respect of my peers – something which served me well throughout the rest of my elementary school career. But perhaps even more noteworthy was that I finally got to tell my side of the story. The principal actually cared about the fact that for the last year I’d been feeling as though my life had been spiraling out of control. He understood my need to seek justice and take back my power. And through it all, through my discussion with that empathetic man, I could feel myself changing. Growing. Evolving.

In the end, my punishment really wasn’t all that bad. I was made to endure a highly uncomfortable phone call home to my mom, plus I apologized to Christy in front of the whole class—all while sobbing, mind you. Interestingly, Christy’s reciprocal apology was equally heartfelt! And while were never really friends, we did manage to reach some kind of equilibrium in our relationship—a kind of mutual understanding, I suppose.

I have no idea whatever happened to Christy, but I am grateful for the valuable lessons she taught me: Whether a superhero or super geek, I have the right to be me. I have the right to be happy. And I definitely have the right to eat my lunch in peace. Now that I think about it, maybe being a geek isn’t so bad after all!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Danica’s Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

 

 

The Name Game

Written by Danica Cornell

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but over the last several months, I’ve noticed a certain level of confusion when it comes to how folks should address me.

Yes, you read my opening sentence correctly.

This all came about because I decided to utilize a pen name.  In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago when a friend and colleague emailed, “Should I call you, Donna, (my real name) or, Danica, (my pen name)?  What about just, D?”

It’s interesting to note, the only people who struggle with this issue are my writer friends.  I mean, let’s face it—most folks don’t take the time to read an author’s bio page, right?  That means the vast majority of people have no earthly idea that, Danica Cornell, is my pseudonym.   Of course, those who’ve known me since way-back-when just call me by my real name.  That leaves those writers with whom I’ve developed a friendship to wonder, “What do I call her?”

While all of this may seem insignificant and perhaps even a bit comical, it got me thinking about how much of our identities are wrapped up in our names.  Whether we’re talking about birth names, married names, professional names, or product names, these labels tend to become a big part of our identity—which, as you might imagine, is actually serious business for novelists.  Needless to say, the significance of branding is precisely why I put so much thought into selecting both a pseudonym and a book series name.

Following the K.I.S.S. rule

For those of you unfamiliar with K.I.S.S., it stands for Keep It Simple Sweetie.  Of course as fate would have it, my real name is, Donna Manobianco, which is anything BUT simple!  Fortunately, I went into the writing business armed with a background in psychology and marketing, which means, I understood right from the get-go that most folks don’t like to think too hard when it comes to remembering the names of people or brands.  In other words, I knew I needed to make things as easy as possible for my readers!

What’s in a name?

For my pen name, I selected, Danica, which originates all the way back to Slavic mythology.  In fact, it was before the Eastern European Slavs were introduced to Christianity that they prayed to a deity known as Danica—the first star they saw in the morning sky.  This “morning star” was thought to be the sun’s little sister.  Since one of the themes in my writing has to do with good vs. evil/light vs. dark, adopting the name, Danica, as the author of the DARK STAR Series seemed like a no-brainer!  As for the surname, Cornell, this is a nod to my husband’s alma mater, Cornell University, which just so happens to be located in New York, where we currently reside.  Plus it’s easy to spell and remember—an important consideration indeed!

As for DARK STAR, I originally thought about naming the series after my protagonist, Dr. Rachel Cohen.  However, after reflecting on this, I realized other series, (i.e., Batman, Spider Man, etc.) use the names of their superheroes for branding.  Additionally, I figured DARK STAR would likely be easier for fans of science fiction and fantasy to recall than, Rachel Cohen ever would be.

With all of this in mind, I consider my top branding priority to be with my DARK STAR series followed by my pen name, Danica Cornell.  Notice how, I didn’t mention, Donna, at all?  So, for all of my pals who feel funny addressing me as, Danica, in the public domain, don’t fret.  You’re actually helping me reinforce my brand!

Until next time…

Happy writing,

Danica

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Danica’s Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Danica’s Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

 

Confessions of an Indie Book Reviewer

Hello everyone, please help me welcome the one and only Kindle Ninja!  Mr. Ninja and I met some time ago through RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.  He is truly fun to chat with, as I discovered while reading and then participating in one of his now-famous conversations over Milk & Cookies.  Mr. Ninja, the floor is all yours…  

Submitted By Kindle Ninja

Hi, I’m Kindle Ninja, the Kindle-reading-book-reviewing Ninja who occasionally stalks indie authors and invites them for conversations over Milk & Cookies.

Although I was born a Ninja, it took a long crooked road to get to this point where I devote a few hours a day reading indie books and reviewing them.

Many years ago, I was a games and gadget reviewer (yeah, good times!), and briefly, a slush pile sorter (horrible times!). [To the uninitiated, a slush pile is a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that have been sent to a publishing company for consideration.]

Most of the manuscripts were dreadful, but there were also brilliant ones that I lobbied and fought for, only to be shot down by the ‘Editorial Overlord’. I wielded no real power. I was at the bottom rung of the editorial ladder. No, make that the gum stuck to the bottom of the Dark Lord’s shoe. It was maddening.

In some warped way, my mind was conditioned to think that those aspiring authors were delusional until proven brilliant. It was a distorted thinking brought on by an ambiguous system.

Needless to say, my stint as a slush pile sorter was short-lived. It was an ugly job akin to kicking someone in the teeth. I didn’t want to be the one who crushes dreams with ego-shredding rejection letters. And I certainly didn’t want to be that fool who rejected Harry Potter.

Years later, the self-publishing revolution happened. Kindle Ninja was born. It was time to make amends.

CONNECT WITH KINDLE NINJA

kn_jaa

Say hello on Twitter @kindleninja

Read my book reviews

Meet the Rave Reviews Book Club Board & Members

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy

 

An Interview With Author Kathryn Chastain Treat

Please help me welcome my dear friend, Ms. Kathryn Treat.  Kathryn is a fellow Governing Board Member of  the Rave Reviews Book Club and author of Allergic To Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope now available on Amazon.

Cover1FinalFront

Kathryn, can you tell us a little about your book?

My book is about my incredible journey through mold induced illness and severe allergies and sensitivities to all chemicals.  I would like to say that I am the only one suffering from this illness but I am far from alone.  After seventeen years of being a stay-at-home mother and volunteer of everything, I chose to go back to work when my younger daughter was about to graduate high school.  I had no idea that the office I was about to work in would change my life forever.  Suddenly I was constantly ill, experiencing life threatening situations, and giving up my treasured possessions.  I would trade my contacts for glasses, my make-up for a bare face, my hair-color for gray hair, my nice clothes for t-shirts and jeans, and give up my beautiful home full of furnishings and crafts that I made and loved for a house that feels more like a doctor’s waiting room than a home.

Sounds like an interesting and informative read!  What inspired you to write this?

I was inspired to write my book when I realized how little people including the medical and legal profession understood about environmental illness.  I was one of the lucky ones who had a steadfast family supporting me who never thought I was crazy.  This was not the case for many that I met and I felt by sharing my story in a way I was sharing their story as well.

Was writing this book an enjoyable experience, or did you find it difficult at times?

I enjoyed being well enough at times to write this book.  I first started writing notes for the book in 2003 and finished the final draft in late 2012.  There were several reasons it took me so long.  The first reason was the difficulty of writing my story.  I would begin working on it one afternoon and find it too painful to write.  Reliving my story often sent me into a spiral of depression and anxiety.  There were periods of time where I couldn’t look at it for months.  Another major delay in getting the book finished was trying to decide where to end it.  I kept waiting for the miracle.  Finally I just decided that I needed to end it where I currently am and be okay with that choice.

What projects are you currently working on? 

A fellow environmental patient and I are working on a children’s book about environmental illness and are getting close to looking for an illustrator.  I also recently became involved with Rave Reviews Book Club as a governing board member.  I am finding this club very exciting as well as learning about new authors I might never have discovered otherwise.

In my “old life” as I call it now, I was a seamstress and made many craft items.  It took me years to be able to control the visual overstimulation problem that the mold exposure did to my brain.  I am finally able to sew again.  I make simple block quilts that I donate to a local children’s hospital.  When I am stressed over writing or life, you may often find me sitting at my sewing machine stitching fabric pieces together.

What kind of environment do you write in?  A noisy café, a quiet library, at your kitchen table? 

I write from the solitude of my home office.  I like to be alone and just write.  I don’t always sleep well.  During these periods, my mind is just going and won’t shut down.  It is during some of these nights when an idea will hit me.  I try to write it down in my journal.  Other nights I am carrying on a conversation in my head as if I am telling a story.  It is a strange thing really.  I am not awake and I am not truly asleep during these episodes. The sad part is that I don’t usually remember my dreams long enough to be able to write them down.  However, there may be a story lying in there amongst all my other journal entries.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?  How old were you?

I really didn’t write much other than the occasional speech for PTA meetings or the speech for a dedication of a new school where I was board president at the time.  I began writing unstructured poetry when I became ill.  My pain and isolation were so great that I would find myself up at night fighting the tears and hysteria and wondering if I was going to survive another day.  During those times I wrote the poems in my journals.  Many of those poems are in my book.

Is there a difference between Kathryn the writer and Kathryn the person?

I think Kathryn the writer and Kathryn the person are pretty much the same.  I speak from my heart and I write from my heart.

What about Kathryn the person versus Kathryn the public figure?  Is there a difference there?

The biggest difference between Kathryn the person and Kathryn the public figure is what you see if you were to see me in public.  I am often more reserved, constantly being aware of my surroundings to avoid exposures that could make me very sick.  In public you most likely will see me wearing a charcoal filter mask over my face to allow me to make a trip into the store.  In this person, you cannot see whether I am smiling or frowning.  I may smile at you from behind the mask but you cannot see that.  I have often wondered if when I smile from behind my mask it shows anywhere in my eyes.

What other writing have you done?

I have not done any other writing but hope one day to have the drive and energy to put forth another book.

What is the best and worst part of the writing process for you?

The best part of the writing process is putting my feelings down in words and allowing my thoughts to wander a little.  The worst part is the editing and reviewing what I have written.

Do you believe writers are born…or made?  

This is a tough question.  I think I would choose both.  I believe some people are born to write.  I see some people write so effortlessly (my younger daughter is this way).  Then I also believe that some are made to write because of circumstances that push them in that direction.

What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?

I have become a very eclectic type of reader since becoming ill.  My main reading was mysteries.  Suddenly after writing and meeting many indie authors, I discovered that I didn’t mind a little sci-fi or paranormal.  I read biographies and other non-fiction books on healing and health.  Currently you will find me reading the most recent selection on the Rave Reviews Book Club site or a book from one of the spotlighted authors.

Do you have any advice for those toying with the idea of becoming a novelist/writer?

I think the best advice is to give it a try.  You have nothing to lose by putting your words to paper other than your time.  I also recommend reading, reading, and more reading.  Review the books you have read and read other reviews of those books.  This will give you an idea of the differences in opinion of books and maybe will shed a little insight into how you want to write.

How many hours a week do you work these days?

Because I have a chronic illness and have good days and bad days, that is a very difficult question to answer.  Some days I spend a lot of time in the office or at the computer.  Other days, I just sit and read and rest.

It’s been suggested that as a group, writers tend to be elitists.  Do you agree with this assertion?  

My experience with writers I have met thus far shows them to be anything but elitists.  The writers and authors I have met have been kind, sincere, and genuinely helpful and supportive of me and my writing.

What is your view of brand management?  Is this a positive or negative aspect of an author’s work and is this something you’re personally comfortable with?

I believe in my case brand management has been reasonably simple.  My brand directly relates to my illness and the topics in my book.

Is there anything you’d like to add before we conclude this interview?

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my book and my story with you and your readers.  I never imagined when I became ill that I would one day have written a book and be giving an interview about it.

You’re very welcome, Kathryn–the pleasure’s been all mine.  

 

BOOK BLURB:

Allergic to Life discusses the reality of mold exposure and chemical sensitivity.  It chronicles the journey of the author through a maze of battles as she attempts to regain her health.  Allergic to Life:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope was written by Kathryn Chastain Treat.

Allergic to Life:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope is Kathryn’s story of self-doubt, loss of identity, and the pain of skepticism – from the medical and legal profession.  It is a heart-wrenching journey of endurance, hope, and hard-won triumph.  Her experience with mold exposure gives her a unique perspective on the physical and emotional effects of mold exposure.  Read her story and learn how she was able to overcome these many obstacles to become an advocate for her own health.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Photo

Kathryn was born in Missouri and raised in the California’s Central Valley.  She is one of two daughters.  She was an active 44-year-old stay-at-home mother of two when she decided to venture back into the workplace after spending 17 years raising her daughters.  Little did she realize that this opportunity for professional growth and financial independence would force her through a never ending series of battles with the medical and legal profession, make her a prisoner of her own home, and mire her in severe depression.  After workplace exposure to mold caused severe immune system dysfunction, Kathryn’s world turned upside down and nothing would ever be the same.

For more information on Allergic to Life:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope or the author, visit:  Kathryn Chastain Treat at http://kathryntreat.com/

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornell May 2014

 

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

DARK STAR I The Assassins (2)

DARK STAR II RISE OF THE HUBOTS

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy